BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – When Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast just says before the 2012 Presidential election, President Barack Obama, was a major part of the news cycle and it was much more difficult for candidate Mitt Romney to any news coverage.
There is great debate over whether the added publicity actually put Obama over the top on Election Day, but the added media exposure of the President visiting disaster areas didn’t detract from his support.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie – who is up for re-election – has a similar opportunity.
During this week’s news cycles with the media focused largely on the approaching storms, Abercrombie has been covered a number of times talking about the state’s hurricane preparedness.
On live television Thursday, Abercrombie talked about the importance of remaining safe and of helping neighbors, and he’s also focused on how well the state emergency team is prepared largely because of his efforts.
Some political observers say there is no doubt, Abercrombie has used the hurricane as a campaign platform, and believe it is a disservice to use human misery for political advantage.
However, they also believe the governor is not gaining any popularity because of the extra media exposure, largely because he hasn’t come across as a strong leader during these media briefings.
Time will tell. Hawaii’s Primary Election is this Saturday, Aug. 9.
The latest media polls show Abercrombie between 10 and 18 points behind his relatively unknown Democratic opponent, Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige.
If Abercrombie loses, it will be the first time in Hawaii’s history that a sitting Democrat governor has been unseated.