Friday, March 27, 2009

Governor or Congress? Wanna bet?

So, what’s it gonna be? Governor or Congress-
man?

By 10 a.m. Saturday, it will all become clear. Or as clear as politics gets, anyway.

A few months back, former U.S. Rep. Ed Case asked us what he should be when he grows up. Governor or Congressman?

My bet is Congress. What’s yours?

Case, a Democrat, was representing District 2, composed of rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands. But he gave up his safe seat to challenge U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary. That didn’t go so well, so he sat out the next election.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle is term-limited so she must now step aside. Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona announced his run for governor early and has already amassed a war chest of $1.4 million. Many pundits, however, don’t think he can carry the state to an unprecedented third consecutive GOP term.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has said, although not in so many words, that he plans to run for governor. Senate President Colleeen Hanabusa has hinted at it as well. But now that the Democratic heavyweight U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie of District 1 has announced his bid for governor, where will the other pieces fall?

My bet is Case runs for Congress. Washington D.C., not Washington Place, is where he really wants to be. It’s a much shorter jump to U.S. Senate from Congress than the governorship, should one of our two 84-year-old senators die or retire in the near future.

Not that either senator has plans to. Not that they’ve been anything but effective in Washington. Akaka has missed a microscopic 3 percent of his roll call votes and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye just 8 percent of his votes since 1990, according to Govtrack.

Inouye is chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. Akaka finally sees his shot at getting recognition for Native Hawaiians into a federal act. So they’re not going to be leaving soon. Or at least willingly.

Still, it’s better to be sitting just a few seats away if they do.

My bet is Congress. What’s yours?