The Cook Political Report has U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka’s re-election chances for 2012 in the `solid’ Democratic category. But there is an asterisk next to Akaka’s name suggesting he is a potential retirement.
Akaka has not been actively raising money and has just $66,278 for his re-election, a potential warning sign but not unusual for the senator. He only had $82,565 at a similar point before his 2006 re-election campaign.
Akaka told KHON in April and the Star-Advertiser in October that he is running for re-election.
Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at the Cook Political Report who tracks Senate and governor’s races, explained her thoughts on Akaka in an e-mail.
It seems to be Akaka’s modus operandi to avoid raising money entirely until he is up for re-election. It’s not an especially wise strategy. It’s part of why Case thought that beating him in a primary was even remotely possible. National Democrats, particularly his Senate colleagues, had to do a lot of the heavy lifting to help him raise money in 2006. They will certainly come to his aid again if he gets a serious challenge, but it could be a little more difficult this time because Democrats have 23 seats up and it is a presidential year.
If Akaka has said he’s running on the record, I hadn’t heard that. Democrats are usually quick to tell me such things. I’ll have to do some checking about how certain they are that he will run. There are lots of reasons for him to retire: age, the prospect of being in the minority next Congress, the rigors of travel, etc. I do know that (Former Gov. Linda) Lingle is giving the race serious consideration, but wanted a few months off first (she’s entitled). If she does run, I would likely to move the rating to Toss Up, but without a challenger, it just makes sense to have it in Solid.