Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige made a surprise announcement yesterday.
He’ll challenge Governor Neil Abercrombie in the 2014 gubernatorial primary election.
Ige, who represents Aiea and Pearl City in the Senate, has spent the last 28 years in the legislature.
He’s an engineer by trade but at the legislature, he is in charge of putting the state’s $24 billion bienium budget together in conjunction with the House finance chair and the governor.
Ige has $74,000 in his campaign fund, considerably less than Abercrombie’s $1.3 million.
But Ige believes even though he isn’t the incumbent and is behind on fundraising that he will win the campaign.
Abercrombie at one time was ranked the most unpopular governor in the country. He’s also had public battles with public union leaders and environmentalists who oppose his development plans for Oahu.
Abercrombie’s spokesperson yesterday welcomed Ige into the race.
While Ige is the first Democrat to announce plans to challenge Abercrombie in 2014, he likely won’t be the last.