Although U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa won't say whether or not she's planning to challenge Governor David Ige in next year's Democratic primary, political analyst Colin Moore believes her federal fundraising efforts tips her hand.
Records show she has only amassed about $220,000 for next year's Congressional race.
"It's a pretty good indication that she's still seriously considering a run for governor," Moore says.
Critics of Gov. Ige believe he has failed to take a leadership role on several of Hawaii's hotbed issues, including the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope and the state's role in Honolulu's rail transit project. A recent national poll of governors ranked him among the nation's least-popular chief executives.
Sources tell Hawaii News Now that powerful Democrats who were formerly aligned with the late U.S. Sen. Daniel inouye have been urging Hanabusa to run against Ige.
"I think a lot of people want more direction from the governor's office, and they're not getting that," Moore said.
If Hanabusa does to decide to run, political commentator Dan Boylan says fundraising won't be very difficult.
"She has got a name that's well-known, she has a powerful position," he said. "She could probably raise the money."
In a political match-up between Ige and Hanabusa, Moore says union backing will be key.
"They're really going to be in the role of 'kingmakers' to some degree," he said. "Getting their support will be very important, particularly for Ige. If he loses that then he's in real trouble."
But Boylan argues that even if Ige is viewed as a weak incumbent, it still may not be enough of an enticement to get Hanabusa to leave Congress.
"Colleen Hanabusa likes being a legislator. Being a legislator really speaks to her strengths," he said.
Boylan says Ige hasn't made any spectacular mistakes that could create a platform for a Hanabusa campaign for governor.