Hawaii Election 2012: A Preview

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The 2012 Hawaii election will be the first since 1974 in which Neil Abercrombie will not be a candidate for office.

It's unlikely that the governor and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will be passively watching events from the Capitol's fifth floor; both Democrats will surely campaign for their fellow party members.

Still, practically the only major seats not up for grabs are the governor's and LG's. Daniel K. Inouye doesn't face re-election until 2016, but even if he were running next year it's a safe bet he'd win handily.

Two congressional races are open: the one for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Akaka, who is retiring, and the one for the 2nd Congressional District seat left open by Mazie Hirono, who is gunning for Akaka's job.

Another Democrat, Ed Case, is also in the Senate hunt, as is Republican Linda Lingle. It's the biggest race of the year for Hawaii, the first open U.S. Senate race since 1976.

How long ago was that?

In 1976, the 38-year-old Abercrombie was running for re-election to the state Hawaii Legislature.

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