Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is done, getting crushed in the Democratic primary by State Sen. David Ige by 35 points.
In the governor's race, Ige, 57, begins the general election as the frontrunner, given Hawaii's long tradition of electing Democrats. But he faces a potentially challenging race.
In addition to Republican nominee and former lieutenant governor Duke Aiona, Ige also faces former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, a well-known former Democrat who is running as the Hawaii Independent Party candidate. Because of his appeal to some Democrats, Hannemann could attract voters who would otherwise vote for the Democratic nominee.
Ige celebrated his victory by reminding supporters how much of an underdog he once appeared to be.
“People told me I was crazy for giving up my seat in the state Senate, but I knew we needed change. They reminded me that no incumbent governor had ever lost a primary election. That changed tonight," Ige told supporters.
The loss by Abercrombie, 76, likely marks the end of a political career spanning more than two decades.
A longtime liberal congressman who was elected to the state's top job in 2010, Abercrombie's approval rating has been very low during the past couple of years.
He pushed an unpopular pension reform program and clashed with organized labor leaders. He also faced heat for appointing Schatz to the Senate in late 2012 instead of Hanabusa, following the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D), a political icon. Inouye wanted Hanabusa to succeed him.
Ige overcame Abercrombie's heavy cash advantage. The governor outspent him by about 10-1.
A rare win for the little guy here, as Abercrombie is a career politician and trashed Hawaii's liberal base whenever possible. The result? He got his ass soundly and deservedly kicked. Picking Brian Schatz to fill Daneil Inouye's Senate seat made him among the least popular governors in the country, and despite raising the state's minimum wage and signing into law same-sex marriage, Abercrombie was doomed from the start when he picked Schatz, his own Lt. Governor, to succeed Inouye in the least white state in the nation.
Not sorry to see him go.