Hawaii's Governor Loses Reelection, Blames Marriage Equality
Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie says his overwhelming reelection defeat in the Democratic primary is not due to his own failures with voters but is actually retribution for his support for marriage equality.
The winner, state Sen. David Ige, also supports marriage equality and voted for it during the special session called by Abercrombie last year to pass the new law. But Abercrombie told reporters, according to the Associated Press and Honolulu Star-Advertiser, that his theory is "Republicans crossed over en masse" to vote in the Democratic primary as revenge for legalizing same-sex marriage.
As a result, Abercrombie says the loss was worth it. "There's no way I could live with myself if I thought I was diminishing another human being's ability to reach their full capacity," said Abercrombie, according the AP.
Abercrombie was handily defeated, earning only 31 percent of the vote compared to Ige taking 67 percent. Washington political magazine National Journal warned of the impending Abercrombie loss but didn't include his support for marriage equality among the risk factors. Instead, it listed a number of examples in which Abercrombie had alienated voters:
"Abercrombie's decision to appoint former Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to fill the U.S. Senate left open by the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye, instead of Inouye-backed Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, roiled the state's political class. But a look into the weeds of state policy highlights Abercrombie actions that each chipped away at important Democratic constituencies over the course of his first term.
"Former governors backing Ige have called Abercrombie overly business-friendly, to the point of allowing the overdevelopment of Honolulu's waterfront. One project Abercrombie backed called for a 650 foot luxury condominium high rise which exceeds Honolulu's current building height limit by over 200 feet. Another new apartment building is set to include a penthouse unit selling for $100 million….
"Abercrombie has also faced opposition over his actions on statewide development projects, a lack of transparency on state Supreme Court nominations, and criticism that he blocked out the voices of the very same supporters who helped elect him in 2010. Two of the state's biggest political players—the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the Sierra Club—sat out this year's gubernatorial primary."
As the winner of the Democratic primary, Ige is favored in a general election fight because of the state's political makeup.