Outside the lines

May 24th, 2011

Hawaii voters have been forgiving of members of Congress who live outside the districts they represent, a vestige, most likely, of the days when the islands had only one district. Both U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, live outside their districts.

Many Republicans — and, in the case of Hirono, Kauai Democrats — have tried to make residency a political issue, but it has not had much of an influence on voters.

The upcoming race to replace Hirono in the 2nd Congressional District, which covers rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands, will likely draw candidates from outside the 2nd District. Hirono is running for the U.S. Senate to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

Residency, however, appears to be more of a factor on the Mainland, where allegations of carpet-bagging can sting.

The New York Times reported that residency had become an issue in a special election for Congress in upstate New York. The Democrat, Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul, lives in a village just outside the district and could not vote for herself.

It is the closing ritual of campaigns: a candidate emerging from behind a polling booth curtain and giving the thumbs-up sign to photographers as they snap away. But there will be no such moment Tuesday for Kathy Hochul, the Democratic candidate in a nationally watched election in a Congressional district in western New York.

“She can’t vote,’’ Fabien Levy, spokesman for Ms. Hochul, explained.

But it turns out upstate New York voters were more interested in issues such as Medicare. Hochul scored a surprise victory today in the conservative district.

Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.

Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare.

6 Responses to “Outside the lines”

  1. charles:

    Didn’t both Hirono and Hanabusa say they would move into their congressional district if elected?

  2. Calvin Kuniyuki:

    I am surprised and disappointed that the S-A didn’t even mention the NY election in breaking news. It had huge national political implications, as you no doubt know.

  3. Eric Marshall:

    Fear tactics at work again. People need to recognize that the Democrats will promise the world and say they will protect Medicare but its their mismanagement and outragous spending will default the system soon ending Medicare all together.
    Stop drinking the koolaid people, they don’t care about your health or our future they just want power and they will sell their souls to get it.

  4. Kolea:

    Voters in the overwhelmingly Republican district voted for Hochul because she framed the issue with a very simple basic message: we should not balance the budget on the backs of senior citizens, but by raising taxes on the wealthiest among us.

    In broad terms, Governor Abercrombie is putting himself on the wrong side of that framework. Can any of his closest people bring him to his senses?

    We’d kinda like him back on the Democratic side of the divide.

  5. Chicken Grease:

    With all the problems we got with big government nowadays, let ‘em come from Mars, by gum (where’s the planet Mars birth certificate?)

    Let them come from Mars if they can make for smaller, less intrusive, less sassy employee’d, and less self-righteous government.

  6. Goober:

    No word if hannabusa moved yet or it was done in total secrecy. For her to know and us to find out.

    It seems democrats are divided within party and Governor Abercrombie is on the wrong side. It is the other person who is on the wrong side. There are those who think they are right and everyone else is on the wrong side. Shazam.

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