Earlier this month, Civil Beat did an interview with Sam Slom, the sole Republican currently serving in the Hawaii State Senate. It’s available as a podcast or, if you prefer, you can read the transcript.
During the interview, Slom made light of his position as a minority of one in the 25-member Senate.
To me it’s great, because I get up every morning, I argue with myself for two minutes. I say: “Are you in agreement Sam?” “Yes, that’s a great idea, Sam.” “I think so too, OK, let’s go!”
Slom is up for reelection in 2016, after garnering a rather uninspiring 54.7% of the vote in the 2012 General Election over a relatively unknown Democrat, Kurt Lajala.
Slom’s name came up while I was talking to a politically independent friend who at this point in time is closer to the Republican side of things.
Our discussion came around to the bitter lawsuit brought against Slom by his former live-in partner, reporter Malia Zimmerman.
The story that emerges from Zimmerman’s narrative, as told in the pages of her lawsuit, isn’t pretty. Could it hurt Slom’s reelection bid?
My friend thought it could, because some of Slom’s faithful Republican backers might not approve of the lifestyle choices that are reflected in the lawsuit’s allegations.
All that is speculation, of course, since it depends to a great degree on whether Democrats can come up with a viable candidate with some name recognition in the community. And, of course, it’s always possible that Slom could be upended in the Republican primary, although that seems less likely.
But if a Democratic challenger manages to oust Slom, he won’t be the only one to be out of a job. My friend pointed out that the minority staff in the senate would also lose their jobs if there are no Republican senators remaining to service.
How many jobs would potentially be lost if the Senate goes 100% blue? I’ll let a reader fill in that blank.
I have to admit that I hadn’t thought of it this way before. Back in the old days–for me, that goes back into the 1980s–there were smart, middle of the road Republican senators with excellent staff who were seen as accessible resources by the “good government” groups like Common Cause.
Just in terms of history, has any state legislature ever had all of its members from a single political party?
And in terms of next year’s election, what Democratic seats are most vulnerable to Republican challenges that could keep at least one R in the Senate no matter what happens to Slom?
I’m sure there are strategists on both sides looking at that big picture.