Ed Case, a former Hawaii congressman, lost his last political race in the 2012 primary election against Mazie Hirono, 57.7 percent to 40.9 percent. He was running to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in 2012 by Sen. Daniel Akaka. Hirono went on to defeat Linda Lingle as well.
Case, a Democrat, represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District between late 2002 and early 2007.
He tried to return to Congress in 2010 to represent Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, but he came in third in a special election, trailing winner Charles Djou and Democratic rival Colleen Hanabusa. After that loss, Case dropped out and left the path open for Hanabusa to unseat Djou.
Case was wildly outspent in the 2012 primary by Hirono, an aggressive and popular fundraiser.
Campaign finance records show Case took in $123,819 in donations in the three month period ending in June 30, while Hirono took in more than $829,763. More than $25,000 of Case’s contributions was in the form of a loan to himself.
The vast majority of Case’s contributions came from individual donors. Since he launched his campaign, Case raised $700,000, while Hirono raised $3.4 million.
With the loss to Hirono, Case was defeated in three major races in a row — the other two were against Djou and Hanabusa in May 2010 and against Sen. Akaka in 2006.
Case was born Sept. 27, 1952, in Hilo on the Big Island. He graduated from Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela, earned a B.S. in psychology from Williams College, and earned a law degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Case has practiced law in Honolulu when he has not been in elected office.
In 1994 Case was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives where he served until 2002. Case was elected House majority leader by his peers, serving from 1999-2000. But he stepped down from that role after clashing with senior Democrats. In 2002, Case sought the Democratic nomination for governor. He narrowly lost the primary to Mazie Hirono, the lieutenant governor at the time who would lose the general election to Republican Linda Lingle.
On Nov. 30 that same year, Case won a special election to fill the vacancy left by U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink, who died Sept. 28 but was posthumously re-elected to the Hawaii 2nd Congressional District seat in November. Case then won a special election in early January 2003 for a new two-year term. He defeated several well-known Republicans, including Barbara Marumoto and Bob McDermott, and several prominent Democrats, including Matt Matsunaga and Colleen Hanabusa. Case was re-elected in 2004.
Rather than run for an expected easy re-election in 2006, Case challenged Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary. Case’s challenge angered the Democratic establishment, in particular Hawaii’s senior senator, Daniel K. Inouye. The party rallied for Akaka, who one the primary 54-45 percent.
Case returned to practicing law before announcing he would run for the 1st Congressional Seat vacated by Neil Abercrombie in 2010 and again after losing in the special election.
Although long associated with the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Case has also been one of its strongest critics. He has clashed with some veteran officials over policy and direction even while working with others to pass legislation and serve his district.
While in the state Legislature Case challenged the conventional way of doings things. He was one of the few and early lawmakers to push for civil unions, and later reciprocal beneficiary status, for same-sex couples. One of his most controversial proposals was to combine the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands into a single entity.
In Congress, Case’s record indicates he was a moderate Democrat who sometimes held more conservative positions on fiscal and foreign policy. He was a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of more than 50 moderate-to-conservative Democrats.
Case also traveled extensively overseas during his time in Congress, including to Iraq and Afghanistan, and was generally supportive of President Bush’s conduct of American involvement in those countries. In 2010 he says he supported President Obama’s policies.
Case says one of his greatest accomplishments in office was introducing the Northwestern Hawaiian IslandsNational Marine Refuge Act. In June 2006, Bush proclaimed the islands the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.