Clear sailing for governor

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Monday that he will seek re-election to another four-year term.

This was not exactly an earth-shattering announcement.

To give the governor his due, he has put the state in a surplus position and is in the forefront of facing the state’s unfunded liabilities for state workers’ health and pension plans.

In fact, tackling the unfunded liabilities issue head on in his State of the State address was a very gutsy move. There are governors across the nation who are doing their best to ignore similar – and a lot of times, worse – underfunding problems than Hawaii’s.

But, Abercrombie came right out and said that what today is a $20 billion problem will grow to $30 billion in the next decade if it is not addressed. The budget this year will include $100 million to begin addressing that shortfall.

We fully expect that the governor will win re-election handily. Yes, we have read reports about his unpopularity but the Republicans have no one who can seriously challenge him. The Star-Advertiser quoted the chairman of the state Republican Party, David Chang, as saying, “Our bench isn’t as deep as we’d like.”

The last we checked, there were only eight Republicans in all of state government. Now, if Chang was comparing politics to a baseball game, not only do the Republicans have no bench, so far they haven’t even fielded a starting team.

Now that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has decided to challenge Sen. Brian Schatz for his Senate seat instead of seeking the governorship, Abercrombie should have clear sailing toward a second term.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.