January 15, 2010

The Cook Political Report on Thursday moved the open seat to replace U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie in urban Honolulu’s 1st Congressional District from likely Democratic to leaning Democratic.

Such ratings are closely followed in Washington, D.C., and can help determine what level of national funding and tactical support candidates receive.

Former congressman Ed Case, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou are running in a special election to fill out Abercrombie’s term and in the September primary and November general election to replace him in Congress.

Cook analysts believe Abercrombie’s decision to resign, triggering the special election, may be the kind of big break that could help the Republican Djou compete with Democrats Case and Hanabusa in a district that favors Democrats.

Here is the Cook rating system:

Likely: These seats are not considered competitive at this point but have the potential to become engaged.
Lean: These are considered competitive races but one party has an advantage.
Toss-Up: These are the most competitive; either party has a good chance of winning.
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