The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reports:
National Democrats are growing increasingly concerned that the presence of two well-known candidates in an all-party special election in Hawaii next month will badly jeopardize their chances of holding the seat and are weighing the options available to them to thin the field.
White House political Director Patrick Gaspard has been active in expressing concerns that in a low-turnout special election, which is set for May 22, former Rep. Ed Case and state Senate president Colleen Hanabusa could split the Democratic vote enough to allow Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) to win. Under Hawaii special election rules, all candidates -- regardless of party affiliation -- run on a single ballot.
While Democratic strategists back Case because they think he has a better shot at winning, "Case is roundly loathed by the Hawaii party establishment" for a few reasons. First, in 2006 he challenged Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary. Second, he's white. The Asian American Action Fund is attacking the DCCC for quietly siding with Case:
“It is unseemly for party officials to step into a special election with more than one Democrat, particularly in a district where 58 percent of the population is Asian Pacific American," says the Asian American Action Fund executive director Gautam Dutta in a statement, provided to POLITICO, that's likely to be the first shot in a campaign to resist DCCC's efforts.
"Imagine the disgruntled reaction were the DCCC to step into a contested special election in a predominantly African-American or Latino district," Dutta pointedly added.
Third, Case is "the moderate LieberDem," as the left-wing website Firedoglake puts it. Case said he would have voted for the Iraq war, supported Gitmo, and voted for the Patriot Act as a congressman.
Greg Sargent is calling the race the "left-wing version of NY-23 — in which two candidates on the right split the vote and allowed a Dem to take a key House seat." Indeed. I can't wait for the mainstream media to start asking the question: Is there any room left for a moderate in the Democratic party these days?