Kahele would also be just the second native Hawaiian to win a seat in Congress (after the late Sen. Dan Akaka) and the first elected from the Neighbor Islands, the more rural part of the state that encompasses all of the islands other than Oahu, which is home to the capital of Honolulu. Kahele understands that his district needs a dedicated, full-time representative who’s willing and able to work extremely hard, particularly given the way the remote archipelago is too often treated as an afterthought on the mainland. (Remember when Jeff Sessions sneered that Hawaii was a mere "island in the Pacific"?)
Gabbard, however, recently kicked off a bid for president, ensuring that she’ll be spending lots of time far from home—and far from the needs of her constituents. Hawaii law allows her to also run for re-election simultaneously, but while she’s busy visiting county fairs in Iowa and diners in New Hampshire, Kahele will be making his case to voters early and often.
Despite her record, Gabbard is still popular in Hawaii, and she won’t be easy to beat. But the heightened scrutiny she now faces, as well as her diminished focus on her district, could very well leave her tarnished and weakened. If she fails in her bid for higher office, she certainly wouldn’t be the first presidential candidate to find that sometimes, you can’t go home again. And there’s still a chance she won’t seek a fourth term in the House no matter what happens, a question she’s punted on.
Kahele was smart to announce so early: Hawaii’s primary is not until August of 2020, giving him plenty of (forgive us) runway. But like any challenger hoping to oust an out-of-touch incumbent, he’ll need lots of resources to get his message out. We have a fantastic opportunity to replace a truly lousy Democrat with a far better one, so let’s seize it.
Please give $3 to Kai Kahele and help elect a better Democrat to a dark blue district!
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