BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – Former Hawaii Congressman Ed Case, (2002-2007), took aim this week at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s endorsement of Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, who he is challenging in the 2012 Senatorial election.
Case, a Blue dog Democrat who served in congress from 2002 to 2007, criticized the group for being “D.C. insiders,” in a statement to The Hill this week.
Both Case and Hirono want to replace the retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Whoever wins the primary will take on former Republican Governor Linda Lingle in the general election.
Case’s rocky relationship with the DSCC culminated on Tuesday with Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., endorsement of Hirono. Murray told reporters: “I’m supporting Mazie, and I believe she is going to win.”
Case told the Washington DC-based media, The Hill, “While Mazie’s been selling her candidacy to the DC insiders, I’ve taken mine straight to Hawaii’s voters, who aren’t too interested in Washington telling them how to fix Washington.”
Case, who made an appearance on Hawaii Reporter television this week, is a fiscal moderate who has challenged his Democratic party’s status quo both in Hawaii and Washington DC. He notes Hirono was rated the 6th most liberal member of the U.S. House.
Unlike Hirono, he opposes the Jones Act, the American shipping law that protects American companies from foreign competition and raises the cost of goods in Hawaii by as much as 30 percent.
His top issues are accountability in government, the budget deficit in Washington, boosting the economy and job creation.
Fundraising in this economy has been a focus and a challenge.
While Case said he has “grassroots” support, he suggests Hirono has about 38 percent of her money coming from special interest. Lingle said she will raise $8 million to $10 million for her campaign, and has been traveling throughout the mainland states these last few weeks to continue to reach that goal. “There is not $8 million to $10 million in Hawaii for this race,” Case said.
Case lost his congressional seat after he ran against Akaka in a 2006 primary, a move that infuriated Hawaii’s Senior Senator Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii.
Inouye has spoken out against Case and campaigned for his Democratic challengers including Colleen Hanabusa in the 2010 Congressional Election and Hirono in this Senatorial race.
Case said while he was disappointed that Inouye is backing Hirono, he does not believe Hawaii’s entire congressional delegation feels the same.
And while Inouye is Hawaii’s most senior senator, and respected among his fellow party members, Case said he is skeptical Democrats will vote for one candidate over the other just because Inouye instructs them to.
In his recent spree of “talk story” sessions across the state, he said he often gets asked what Hirono has accomplished in Congress, because her constituents are not convinced there have been memorable or significant accomplishments.
Case, who calls this U.S. Senate race, Hawaii’s most important election in a generation, maintains if Hirono wins the Democratic primary, former GOP Gov. Linda Lingle will beat Hirono in the November general election.