By: Michael Barone
On Monday I wrote a blogpost noting that a poll showed Republican Charles Djou well ahead of the two Democratic candidates in the first-past-the-post Hawaii 1 special election scheduled for May 22. One reason for Djou’s performance may be the TV ad placed by Independent Women’s Voice targeting one of the Democrats, former Congressman Ed Case.
IVW took a poll showing that Case had more potential to gain votes than the other Democrat, state Senator Colleen Hanabusa, who is part of the longtime Hawaii Democratic machine which held the governorship and the legislature from 1962 to 2002. Case, who opposed the machine-backed incumbent Senator Daniel Akaka in the 2006 Democratic primary, potentially had some credibility as a reform-minded candidate. Last week the IWV put up this ad, which links Case to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (he hired a Blagojevich advisor.
This is reportedly the only independent expenditure made against a Democrat in this race; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was running negative ads against Djou before deciding to pull out of the race last weekend. The poll cited above showed Case running about even with Hanabusa, and far behind what is needed to win.
Independent expenditure ads worked for Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 cycle. Now IWV may be showing that independent expenditure ads may be working for Republicans in the 2010 cycle—even in Hawaii-1, where Barack Obama was born and which he carried 70%-28% in November 2008.