Editorial | On Politics Races for isles’ federal seats not exactly barn burners By Richard Borreca firstname.lastname@example.org July 8, 2016 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! After two election cycles with important contested races, Hawaii’s 2016 edition of federal campaigns appears more meh than major. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. After two election cycles with important contested races, Hawaii’s 2016 edition of federal campaigns appears more meh than major. Voters four years ago had two major races to sort through. Hawaii Democrat Daniel K. Akaka had announced he would retire and not run for reelection. Akaka’s 2011 decision meant that the 2012 campaign would feature that rarest of Hawaii political phenomena: an open congressional seat. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono faced former Congressman Ed Case in the Democratic primary and then triumphed over GOP Gov. Linda Lingle in the general election. The 2012 race for Hirono’s U.S. House seat was just as competitive, as City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard started the race as the dark horse candidate against former Mayor Mufi Hannemann. Gabbard proved the stronger of the two, winning 54 percent to 39 percent in the primary. Two years later, the top race was the battle between Brian Schatz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. Schatz, who was elevated from lieutenant governor to U.S. senator by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie after the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, prevailed by just 1,769 votes. Now this year, Hanabusa is back campaigning for her old U.S. House seat after her successor, Rep. K. Mark Takai, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Takai had filed for reelection, but the cancer worsened and the 20-year state legislative veteran was forced to formally withdraw from the campaign. Hanabusa’s most well-known opponent in the primary is former legislator and school board member Lei Ahu Isa, who is currently serving as a trustee for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Hanabusa said she has raised about $152,000 so far in the last-minute campaign. Ahu Isa said she will not hold fundraisers or ask for campaign donations. Gabbard this year is opposed by Maui Democratic activist Shay Chan Hodges, who comes from her own political family: her father-in-law is Tony Hodges, who ran unsuccessfully twice as a Democrat for U.S. Senate and twice for governor. While Gabbard has become a regular on national television cable shows, she has refused Chan Hodges’ challenge to debate. Finally this year, Schatz will be running for the regular six-year U.S. Senate term, after winning two years ago to fill out the remainder of Inouye’s term. Schatz has no serious competition in the Democratic primary and also has a huge $2.8 million campaign treasury. Perhaps the biggest oddity in the Senate race is that the general election will feature candidates from the Constitution Party and the just-formed American Shopping Party, in addition to the more mainstream Libertarian and Republican parties. Just go vote. Previous Story Making mopeds a little less noisy Next Story Āhea e pau ai ka luku a ka pū?