Political expert looks ahead to the 2014 election season

With just two months left until the primary election, Hawaii’s political season has officially kicked into high gear.

Tuesday was the last day for candidates to file for this year’s political races.

In the gubernatorial race, an incumbent Democrat faces a state senator in the primary.

“There’s been a lot of talk about unhappiness with Gov. (Neil) Abercrombie,” said John Hart, communication chair for Hawaii Pacific University.

Hart said the unhappiness stems from the governor’s decision on same-sex marriage and his choice to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye with Brian Schatz.

2014 Key Election Dates

Primary Election
Registration deadline: July 10
Absentee deadline: Aug. 2
Election: Aug. 9

General Election
Registration deadline: Oct. 6
Absentee deadline: Oct. 28
Election: Nov. 4

Still, Hart believes Abercrombie will defeat Ige, unless the senator makes a huge move soon.

“David Ige has yet to really establish a frame of why to vote for him, other than he’s not Neil,” he said. “Some people will say being not Neil is enough. I’m not sure that’s the case.”

Whoever wins the primary will go onto the general election to face Republican Duke Aiona and Mufi Hannemann, who just filed Tuesday as a candidate in the Hawaii Independent Party.

Hart predicts Abercrombie will also beat Aiona and Hannemann, who he has defeated in political races before. Hart says Abercrombie is the incumbent with a lot of campaign funds, which will help him greatly.

Voters KHON2 talked to said differently.

“I was really impressed by Ige,” one voter said.

“(I’ve been) looking at Duke Aiona for the last couple of times,” another voter said.

Another big contest is the U.S. Senate race, which is described by Hart as the marquee race with incumbent Brian Schatz, the governor’s choice, facing Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was the late senator’s choice to replace him.

“The challenge, I think, will be who runs the better campaign and right now that looks like it’s definitely the Schatz campaign,” Hart said.

The other race to watch is Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.

Although Sen. Pres. Donna Mercado Kim seems to be the front runner in the Democratic race, Hart says Rep. K. Mark Takai isn’t far behind and still has time to close the gap.

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