Primary preview: David Ige

It would be a first in state history…the incumbent governor getting beaten in his own party’s primary.

But mild-mannered David Ige has emerged as a strong contender in Saturday’s primary.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate had already voted on Tuesday, with his family in attendance.

Ige has spent nearly 30 years at the State Legislature, but he is quick to point out there is more to him than his legislative tenure.

“But most importantly, I have 35 years of private sector experience,” he said. “I have really been committed to maintaining my professional career as an engineer and business executive.”

In fact, when you go to his website at, and click on the action plan, the title of that plan is self-explanatory: “Engineering Hawaii’s Future.”

Now, why a run for governor, because the Democrats already have that seat in hand.

Well, Ige said he knows what he is getting into. “I have no delusion. When I decided to run for governor, this would be the toughest challenge of my life. First of all, no incumbent governor has ever lost the election. So, we knew that it would be a big challenge.”

A recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll seems to confirm change is in the air, with Ige leading Gov. Abercrombie by 18 points. But another alarming fact from the survey was that nearly half the people said they were voting for Ige because it was a vote against Abercrombie.

“It is consistent with everything I’ve heard, that people feel government is not responding. There is a sense that people don’t feel connected to government. It’s (that) things are happening to them rather than for them.

“This campaign has been about a change in leadership style, a commitment to really listening to our communities, to work with them, to make the tough choices that will be required to move our community’s forward,” he said.

We’ll find out on Saturday if David Ige manages to engineer a victory.

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