Case: 'High Stakes' In U.S. Senate Choice05/26/2012
The last time Ed Case addressed Hawaii Democrats, in May 2010, he received a standing ovation.
But that's because Case announced he was withdrawing from the primary race for the Hawaii First Congressional District that year.
Case's shocking decision delighted the party and effectively sent Colleen Hanabusa to Congress. Many said Case had ensured that he still had a political future.
On Saturday, addressing many of the same party delegates, Case fought for that future.
The former congressman said the U.S. House race "paled" in comparison with the contest to replace Daniel Akaka in the U.S. Senate.
"Never in our state's history has the outcome of a single election determined balance of power in the Senate and the future of our country," said Case.
He said current predictions nationally have the Senate resulting in a 50-50 split come November — and that's if Hawaii Democrats defeat the likely Republican nominee, former Gov. Linda Lingle.
"We can make no such assumption," said Case. "We cannot take the candidacy of Linda Lingle for granted any more than we did in 2002."
The difference this time, however, is that Lingle's 2002 election was for at most eight years in office, given that the governorship is term-limited.
The winner of the Senate race, Case argued, will likely represent Hawaii for a generation, as there are no term limits for Congress.
"Think about it — think about it," Case urged delegates. "You have two good candidates asking for your votes in the primary, but it is your choice. ... Think about it, that is all we ask. The stakes are that high."