January 5th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
4 years ago

Abercrombie says he'll step down next month

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) announced Tuesday that he would step down as congressman on February 28 to focus on a run for governor.
Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) announced Tuesday that he would step down as congressman on February 28 to focus on a run for governor.

Washington (CNN) – Rep. Neil Abercrombie says he'll step down from Congress on February 28 to focus on his run for Hawaii governor.

The announcement comes three weeks after the 11-term Democratic congressman said he would retire from his current job in order to enter his state's gubernatorial race.

Stepping down at the end of next month will "ensure that I will be able to fulfill the remaining duties requiring my presence in the House," Abercrombie said in a statement. "This work, most notably, involves providing my continuing support for legislation on health care and the Akaka Bill."

The Akaka Bill, formally known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009, is named after the state's junior senator. It calls for a process for ethnic Hawaiians to essentially gain federal recognition as an Indian tribe.

Under state law, a special election for Abercrombie's seat can be held no sooner than 60 days after the vacancy. The Honolulu Advertiser reports that Scott Nago, the interim chief elections officer, told the state Senate Ways and Means Committee that his preference would be to hold an all-mail special election ,with some walk-in voting sites.

Hawaii's 1st congressional district tilts towards the Democrats. Abercrombie won re-election in 2008 by 58 points, and Hawaii-born Barack Obama won the district by 42 points in the presidential contest. Democrat John Kerry won the district by 6 points over President George W. Bush in the 2004 contest.
The Hawaii governorship is currently controlled by Republican Linda Lingle, who is prevented by law from seeking another term in 2010. The Democratic Governors Association sees the Hawaii race as one of their best chances for a pickup next year.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Hawaii
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Petey

    I wouldn't be surprised to see more democrats AND republicans bailing before the midterm elections to dodge being tossed out of office with the rest of the career incumbents. Good riddance to all of them and good luck to Hawaii.

    January 5, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. chubby

    And another demorat abandons the demorat boat. Most people go from Governor to the Congress not the reverse. I guess he smells the winds blowing of removing demorats in 2010 and 2012.

    January 5, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. munchmom

    I hope it is before a vote on the health care bill.......maybe, just maybe it won't pass!

    January 5, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. single mom

    That's a lot of Democrats not running for office in 2010.
    Is anyone keeping track of the numbers? I'd love to get an idea of the winds of change.

    January 5, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |