HONOLULU— With three weeks before the state’s contested Democratic primary, members of MoveOn.org Political Action have opened an office in Honolulu, Hawaii, kicking off a grassroots effort focused on turning out progressive voters in support of the incumbent candidate, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).
On Tuesday night, dozens of local progressives gathered to launch MoveOn’s new Honolulu office and sign up to volunteer for an intensive get-out-the-vote push in the final weeks of the campaign. Driven by on-the-ground organizers in Hawaii, the independent expenditure will work to mobilize thousands of voters to vote for Brian Schatz in the Aug. 9 primary.
“Keeping Brian Schatz in the U.S. Senate is the answer for maintaining the present and future well-being and prosperity of Hawaii and its people,” said Michelle Foyt, a MoveOn member who attended the campaign kickoff Tuesday night. “His broad experience in public service shows in his tempered, secure, inclusive approach to solving problems. He’s done a great job as a Senator, chairing two committees important to Hawaii’s present and future, and winning endorsements of President Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and the Honolulu Star Advertiser.”
A recent poll of likely primary voters in Hawaii by Lake Research, commissioned by MoveOn, shows Sen. Schatz leading over his challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI). Respondents expressed concern over Rep. Hanabusa’s votes for a plan that would cut Social Security and for a bill, backed by the coal industry, which would have delayed clean air standards.
Additionally, Hawaii voters were deeply concerned with Rep. Hanabusa’s record of using her office for personal gain.
View a memo on the poll results here:
“This is the most important Democratic primary in the country,” said MoveOn Honolulu organizer Alejandro Chavez, who is helping organize the mobilization effort. “With so much at stake in Washington, we can’t afford to lose a progressive champion like Senator Schatz.”
MoveOn members in Hawaii overwhelmingly voted last year to endorse Sen. Schatz, who has championed progressive values in his first two years in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Schatz easily earned the endorsement, receiving more than 76 percent of votes cast in a vote of the 39,040 MoveOn members in the state.
In endorsing Sen. Schatz, MoveOn members noted his steadfast support of Social Security and pointed to his opposition to the chained CPI proposal that would cut Social Security benefits — in stark contrast to Rep. Hanabusa’s vote in favor of a plan that would have cut Social Security. Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members have signed petitions calling for the protection and expansion of Social Security benefits and organized congressional opposition to cuts. In addition, MoveOn members noted Sen. Schatz’s leadership in fighting for marriage equality, tackling climate change, and backing comprehensive gun safety legislation.
“Sen. Schatz is a strong progressive voice in the U.S. Senate who has led the fight to protect Social Security,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action. “When some Democrats in the House and Senate were ready to fold and give in to Republicans on Social Security, Sen. Schatz stood strong and even sponsored legislation to increase Social Security benefits by asking the wealthy to pay the same rates as the rest of us. MoveOn’s 8 million members support strong progressives like Sen. Schatz and are ready to ensure that he wins reelection.”