Born in Buffalo, New York, Abercrombie is a graduate of Union College and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. He began his political career in 1975, winning a seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives. He served in the Hawaii House until 1979, when he was elected to the Hawaii State Senate. Upon the resignation of Cecil Heftel, who resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives to run for governor, Abercrombie was elected to his vacant seat in a special election in 1986, but lost the Democratic primary for a full term on the same day. Abercrombie served the remainder of Heftel's term until January 1987. He served on the Honolulu City Council from 1988 to 1990 before returning to Congress in 1991. Abercrombie served nine consecutive terms in the House from 1993 to 2010, representing Hawaii's 1st congressional district, consisting of urban Honolulu.
With incumbent Governor Linda Lingle prevented by term limits from running for reelection, Abercrombie declared his candidacy for governor in March 2009. In September 2010 he won the five-candidate Democratic primary with 59% of the vote. Abercrombie went on to face Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona, in the general election.
On November 2, 2010, Abercrombie and running mate Brian Schatz defeated Aiona with 57% of the vote. Abercrombie was sworn into office on December 6, 2010. Issues he faced during his tenure included the aftermath of the great recession and restructuring labor union pensions. In 2014, he was defeated in the Democratic primary by state senator David Ige.
|7th Governor of Hawaii|
December 6, 2010 – December 1, 2014
|Preceded by||Linda Lingle|
|Succeeded by||David Ige|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Hawaii's 1st district
January 3, 1991 – February 28, 2010
|Preceded by||Pat Saiki|
|Succeeded by||Charles Djou|
September 20, 1986 – January 3, 1987
|Preceded by||Cecil Heftel|
|Succeeded by||Pat Saiki|
|Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives|
|Born||June 26, 1938|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Nancie Caraway (m. 1981)
|Education||Union College (AB)|
University of Hawaii, Manoa (MA, PhD)
Abercrombie was born on June 26, 1938, in Buffalo, New York, the son of Vera June (née Grader) and George Donald Abercrombie. His ancestry includes English, Irish and German. His paternal great-grandfather James Abercrombie left Ireland for Canada; his son then immigrated to the United States. After graduating from Williamsville High School (now Williamsville South High School), Abercrombie pursued studies in sociology at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1959. He arrived in Honolulu in September 1959 to study at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he earned a master's degree in sociology and later a doctorate in American Studies. At the university he befriended and attended classes with President Barack Obama's parents, Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr.
To support himself as a graduate student, Abercrombie worked as a waiter at Chuck's Steak House in Waikīkī, locker desk clerk at the Central YMCA, custodian at Mother Rice Preschool, construction apprentice program director, elementary school teacher, and a college lecturer.
Abercrombie first participated in a political campaign in 1970, seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Unsuccessful, Abercrombie ran for the Hawaii State House of Representatives, where he served from 1975 to 1979. A distinguishing symbol of his early campaigns was a yellow Checker Taxi with his name and face painted on the side, the use of which was motivated by lack of money for traditional campaigning methods. The taxi became a symbol of both his standing as an outsider from the mainland and his unconventional style. In 1979 Abercrombie was elected to the Hawaii State Senate, where he served from 1980 to 1986. After U.S. Representative Cecil Heftel resigned in July 1986 to run for governor of Hawaii, Abercrombie was elected to the House in a September 1986 special election to complete Heftel's unexpired term. On the same day, he lost the Democratic primary for a full two-year term to Mufi Hannemann, who lost to Republican Pat Saiki in the general election.
Abercrombie then set his sights on a seat of the Honolulu City Council. He won the race and served from 1988 to 1990.
At the end of his council tenure in 1990, Abercrombie once again ran for Congress and won. He was reelected ten times. In the 2008 election he won with 70.6% of the vote.
Abercrombie was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and compiled a generally liberal voting record. He supported and voted for the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. On October 10, 2002, he was among the 133 members of the House who voted against authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He cosponsored H.R. 1312 (Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2005) on July 28, 2005. He took issue with the Vatican over not listing torture as a sin.
According to Project Vote Smart, Abercrombie holds the following issue positions: he is pro-choice, has voted against a ban on partial birth abortion, and has voted with the interests of NARAL and Planned Parenthood 100% of the time between 2000 and 2006. He has voted for bills designed to make it easier for Americans to vote, such as the motor voter bill. He has advocated strongly for civil liberties; his voting record is supported by both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American Library Association. He was one of the 67 representatives to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 and has also voted against a constitutional amendment proposed in 2006 to limit marriage to being between one man and one woman. He was one of only nine representatives not to cast a vote for or against the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001. In 2005 he voted against the extension of the act, calling it "a blank check to trample civil liberties." In 2007 he signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 676, which would have established a national health insurance program. He resigned from Congress on February 28, 2010, to concentrate on his campaign for governor.
Abercrombie served as chairman of the Armed Forces Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and a senior member of the Natural Resources Committee. He co-authored landmark legislation creating public-private partnerships between the military and private developers to build, maintain and manage housing for military families.
On March 9, 2009, Abercrombie announced his candidacy for governor of Hawaii. On December 11, 2009, he announced that he would resign from Congress to concentrate on his gubernatorial bid. He was succeeded in Congress by Republican Charles Djou, the first Republican elected to Congress from Hawaii since Pat Saiki.
During his campaign, Abercrombie released his "A New Day in Hawaii Plan", offering a roadmap based on Hawai'i's values and priorities. The plan was the result of conversations with thousands of people and many hours of research. Abercrombie met with business people, entrepreneurs, economists, principals, teachers, parents, academics, public employees, farmers, nonprofit leaders, health professionals, students, seniors, conservationists, cultural practitioners, construction workers, and citizens of all backgrounds. He also held dozens of issue forums and meetings on every island to hear from residents about their concerns and hopes for Hawai'i.
On November 2, 2010, Abercrombie defeated Republican nominee Duke Aiona, 57.8% to 40.8%, to become Hawaii's 7th governor. In his November 3 victory speech he credited many people for his success, including the founder of the Department of Religion at the University of Hawaii Manoa, Dr. Mitsuo Aoki.
Abercrombie was sworn in as governor of Hawaii on December 6, 2010, the first gubernatorial victor of the 2010 election cycle to be sworn into office.
Abercrombie was 72 when he was sworn in as governor, and was the oldest current United States governor for a little less than a month. On January 3, 2011, he lost that title to Jerry Brown of California, who is two months older than Abercrombie.
When Abercrombie took office, he vowed to end the investigations into President Obama's birth certificate. A spokesperson for Abercrombie said he would ask the office of the Attorney General what it could do. State Attorney General David M. Louie informed Abercrombie that state privacy laws prevent the release of "an individual's birth documentation without the person's consent" to persons who do not have "a tangible interest" in the document.
According to polls, in October 2011 Abercrombie was the least popular governor in the country, with a 30% approval rating.
In February 2011 Abercrombie signed into law a bill legalizing civil unions. His predecessor, Linda Lingle, had vetoed the legislation. In 2013 he called the Hawaii Legislature into a special session to consider a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, which he signed into law on November 13.
Upon the death of longtime Senator Daniel Inouye, Abercrombie had to appoint his replacement. The State Democratic Party gave him a list of three finalists and he chose Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz, despite Inouye's stated wish that he select Colleen Hanabusa. Schatz is now Hawaii's senior U.S. Senator.
Obama appointed Abercrombie to the Council of Governors, and he served from 2012 to 2014. The council consists of 10 governors the president appoints to focus on national security, homeland defense, synchronization and integration of state and federal military activities in the United States and matters of mutual interest pertaining to the National Guard.
In November 2013 Abercrombie was named to Obama's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, a group of governors, mayors and other leaders who were to develop recommendations on how the federal government could better support local preparedness and resilience-building efforts. Hawaii also signed on to the Majuro Declaration as a U.S. Climate Leader in September of that year, making the state the first sub-national government to sign.
After an intense special session, Abercrombie signed into law a bill that legalized marriage for same-sex couples in Hawai'i. The new law took effect on December 2, 2013. Hawaii was the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
In the August 9, 2014, Democratic gubernatorial primary, Abercrombie was defeated by state senator David Ige, taking just 31% of the vote to Ige's 67%, making him the first incumbent governor to lose a primary in Hawaii's history. The margin of defeat was the largest for any incumbent governor in United States history. 
In 2006 Abercrombie was named "Scot of the Year" by the Caledonian Society of Hawaii.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 1st congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 1st congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of Hawaii
| Governor of Hawaii
The 2000 House elections in Hawaii occurred on November 7, 2000 to elect the members of the State of Hawaii's delegation to the United States House of Representatives. Hawaii had two seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census.
These elections were held concurrently with the United States Senate elections of 2000, the United States House elections in other states, and various state and local elections.2002 United States House of Representatives elections in Hawaii
The 2002 House elections in Hawaii occurred on November 5, 2002 to elect the members of the State of Hawaii's delegation to the United States House of Representatives. Hawaii had two seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census.
These elections were held concurrently with the United States Senate elections of 2002, the United States House elections in other states, and various state and local elections.
Of Hawaii's Congressional districts, the race in the 2nd district received the most attention. Representative Patsy Mink, despite her death following renomination, was posthumously re-elected, thus triggering a subsequent special election to fill the vacancy.2004 United States House of Representatives elections in Hawaii
The 2004 House elections in Hawaii occurred on November 2, 2004 to elect the members of the State of Hawaii's delegation to the United States House of Representatives. Hawaii had two seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census.
These elections were held concurrently with the United States presidential election of 2004, United States Senate elections of 2004 (including one in Hawaii), the United States House elections in other states, and various state and local elections.2006 United States House of Representatives elections in Hawaii
The 2006 congressional elections in Hawaii were held on November 4, 2006 to determine who was to represent the state of Hawaii in the United States House of Representatives for the 111th Congress. Hawaii has two seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms.2008 United States House of Representatives elections in Hawaii
The 2008 congressional elections in Hawaii were held on November 4, 2008 to determine who was to represent the state of Hawaii in the United States House of Representatives for the 111th Congress from January 3, 2009, until their terms of office expire on January 3, 2011. Incumbent Neil Abercrombie (D) was reelected in Hawaii's 1st congressional district. Incumbent Mazie Hirono (D) was reelected in Hawaii's 2nd congressional district.
Hawaii has two seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census. Representatives are elected for two-year terms. The election coincided with the 2008 U.S. presidential election.2010 Hawaii gubernatorial election
The 2010 Hawaii gubernatorial election was held on November 2, 2010 to elect the next Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii. The winning candidates served a four-year term from 2010 to 2014. Incumbent Republican Governor Linda Lingle was term-limited in 2010 and not eligible to run for re-election. Former congressman Neil Abercrombie was declared the winner, defeating lieutenant governor Duke Aiona. Abercrombie was sworn in as the state's seventh (and its fifth Democratic) Governor on December 6, 2010.
The winners of the 2010 lieutenant governor primary election became the running mates of the 2010 gubernatorial nominees.2014 Hawaii gubernatorial election
The 2014 Hawaii gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2014, to elect the Governor of Hawaii, concurrently with a special election to Hawaii's Class III Senate Seat, as well as other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.
Primary elections were held on August 9, 2014. In Hawaii, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run in separate primaries and are then elected on the same ticket. Incumbent Democratic governor Neil Abercrombie ran for re-election to a second term in office, but was defeated by State Senator David Ige in the Democratic primary, making Abercrombie the first incumbent governor to lose renomination in Hawaii history. Incumbent Democratic lieutenant governor Shan Tsutsui was renominated.
The Republicans nominated former lieutenant governor Duke Aiona and pastor and former circuit court judge Elwin Ahu. Also running as an independent was former mayor of Honolulu Mufi Hannemann and former Honolulu parks and recreation director Les Chang. Ige and Tsutsui won the election.Brian Schatz
Brian Emanuel Schatz (; born October 20, 1972) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a seat he has held since 2012. Schatz was appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie to replace Senator Daniel Inouye after his death.
Schatz served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, where he represented the 25th Legislative District and was chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii from 2008 to 2010. He also worked as chief executive officer of Helping Hands Hawaii, an Oahu nonprofit social service agency, until he resigned to run for Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii in the 2010 gubernatorial election as the running mate of Neil Abercrombie. He served as lieutenant governor until December 26, 2012, when Abercrombie appointed Schatz to serve out the rest of Daniel Inouye's U.S. Senate term after his death. Upon his swearing-in, Schatz was the youngest U.S. Senator in the 112th Congress. Schatz won the 2014 special election to complete the remainder of Inouye's Senate term, and was reelected in 2016 for a full six-year term, defeating Republican John Carroll.David Ige
David Yutaka Ige (; born January 15, 1957) is an American politician serving as the eighth governor of Hawaii. A Democrat, he previously served in the Hawaii State Senate. In the 2014 gubernatorial election, he won the Democratic primary over incumbent Governor Neil Abercrombie, and the general election over Republican nominee Duke Aiona. He was reelected in 2018.Duke Aiona
James R. "Duke" Aiona Jr. (born June 8, 1955) is an American politician and jurist who served as the tenth lieutenant governor of Hawaii from 2002 to 2010. A Republican, he also served both as an attorney and a judge for the state prior to becoming lieutenant governor.
Aiona was the Republican nominee for Governor of Hawaii in the 2010 election, but was defeated by Democrat Neil Abercrombie in the general election. He was the Republican nominee once again in the 2014 election, but lost to Democrat David Ige.Gil Kahele
Gilbert Kahele (May 15, 1942 – January 26, 2016) was an American politician and a Democratic member of the Hawaii Senate since January 16, 2011 representing District 1. Kahele was appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Russell S. Kokubun as Hawaii Commissioner of Agriculture. He died in office on January 26, 2016 after being hospitalized one week prior.Hawaii's 1st congressional district
Hawaii's 1st congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The district is located entirely on the island of Oahu, encompassing the urban areas of the City and County of Honolulu, a consolidated city-county that includes Oahu's central plains and southern shores, including the towns of Aiea, Mililani, Pearl City, Waipahu and Waimalu. The district is smaller and more densely populated than the 2nd Congressional District (which includes the rest of the state).
The district is currently represented by Democrat Ed Case.Hawaii Senate Bill 232
Hawaii Senate Bill 232 is a 2011 law which legalizes state recognition of civil unions in the state after January 1, 2012. Initiated in the Hawaii Senate and substantively similar to 2010's Hawaii House Bill 444, which was vetoed by then-Governor Linda Lingle. SB232 was backed by her successor, Neil Abercrombie.
The bill was passed on January 26, 2011, by the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee in a 3–2 vote and was passed by the full Senate 19-6 on January 28. A modification to the bill was then made in the House of Representatives before passage on February 11 by a vote of 31–19,; the Senate passed the modified bill on February 16 by a vote of 18–5.
Abercrombie's office confirmed after the passage of the bill by the Legislature that he would sign the bill within 10 legislative days of the passage, and the bill was signed into law as Act 1 on February 23.The Hawaii Civil Union Act 2011 is still in force, despite Hawaii providing same-sex marriages since December 2, 2013, under the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act 2013.Jo Jordan
Georgette "Jo" Jordan (born May 5, 1962) is the former Democratic representative of the 44th House District of the Hawaii House of Representatives, which includes Wai‘anae, Mākaha, Makua, and parts of Māʻili on the island of Oahu. Jordan was appointed to the seat by Governor Neil Abercrombie on January 19, 2011 after the seat was vacated by Maile Shimabukuro, who filled Colleen Hanabusa's vacated Senate seat. Cedric Asuega Gates defeated incumbent Jo Jordan in the Hawaii House of Representatives District 44 Democratic primary.Nancie Caraway
Nancie Ellen Caraway (born February 2, 1942) is the former First Lady of the U.S. state of Hawaii from 2010 to 2014. She is the spouse of former First Congressional District U.S. Representative and former Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie. Caraway is a University of Hawaii at Manoa political scientist, feminist scholar and activist, a member of the university's Globalization Research Center and its Director of Women's Human Rights, leading its Trafficking Project. She is also a mentor and lecturer at the East–West Center.Caraway was born in Alabama and arrived in Hawaii from Houston, Texas. She received her bachelor of arts degree in political science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1980. She was a resident of New York City while studying for her Master of Science degree in journalism at Columbia University. She married her husband, Neil Abercrombie, in 1981 in Palm Springs, California. She returned to Hawaii and completed a master of arts in 1986 and doctorate in 1991, both in political science.
Following her husband to Washington, D.C. where he served in the United States Congress, Caraway became an assistant professor at Georgetown University, George Washington University and American University.An author, Caraway won the Victoria Schuck Award—an international award for the best book on women and politics—from the American Political Science Association for her 1992 book, Segregated Sisterhood: Racism and the Politics of American Feminism, also the title of her University of Hawaii at Manoa doctoral dissertation.Pat Saiki
Patricia Hatsue Saiki (née Fukuda; born May 28, 1930) is an American politician and former school teacher from Hilo in the state of Hawai'i. She served as a Republican in Congress from 1987 to 1991 and then as Administrator of the Small Business Administration under President of the United States George H. W. Bush.Richard W. Pollack
Richard W. Pollack (born July 2, 1950) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawaii. He was nominated by Governor Neil Abercrombie in 2012 to replace outgoing Justice James E. Duffy, Jr.. His nomination was approved in the Hawaii State Senate by a vote of 24–1, and he was appointed on August 6, 2012. He is eligible to serve until 2020, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.Same-sex marriage in Hawaii
Same-sex marriage in Hawaii has been legal since December 2, 2013. The Hawaii State Legislature held a special session beginning on October 28, 2013, and passed the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act legalizing same-sex marriage. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the legislation on November 13, and same-sex couples began marrying on December 2. Hawaii also allows both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to formalize their relationships legally in the form of civil unions and reciprocal beneficiary relationships. Civil unions provide the same rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage at the state level, while reciprocal beneficiary relationships provide a more limited set of rights.
Hawaii's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples was first challenged in state court in 1991, and the plaintiffs initially met with some success. But Hawaii voters modified the state Constitution in 1998 to allow the Legislature to restrict marriage to mixed-sex couples. By the time the Supreme Court of Hawaii considered the final appeal in the case in 1999, it upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
When Hawaii's civil union law took effect at the start of 2012, same-sex marriages established in other jurisdictions were considered civil unions in Hawaii.Supreme Court of Hawaii
The Supreme Court of Hawaii is the highest court of the State of Hawaii in the United States. Its decisions are binding on all other courts of the Hawaii State Judiciary. The principal purpose of the Supreme Court is to review the decisions of the trial courts in which appeals have been granted. Appeals are decided by the members of the Supreme Court based on written records and in some cases may grant oral arguments in the main Supreme Court chamber. Like its mainland United States counterparts, the Supreme Court does not take evidence and uses only evidence provided in previous trials.
The court meets in Aliʻiōlani Hale in Honolulu.
|One At-large seat (1959–1963)|
|Two At-large seat (1963–1971)|
|Territorial Governor of Hawaiʻi (1898–1941)|
|Military Governor of Hawaii (1941–44)|
|Territorial Governor of Hawaiʻi (1944–59)|
|Governor of Hawaiʻi (1959–present)|
|99th||Senate: D. Inouye • S. Matsunaga||House: D. Akaka • C. Heftel • N. Abercrombie|
|102nd||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: P. Mink • N. Abercrombie|
|103rd||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: P. Mink • N. Abercrombie|
|104th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: P. Mink • N. Abercrombie|
|105th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: P. Mink • N. Abercrombie|
|106th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: P. Mink • N. Abercrombie|
|107th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: P. Mink • N. Abercrombie • E. Case|
|109th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: N. Abercrombie • E. Case|
|109th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: N. Abercrombie • E. Case|
|110th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: N. Abercrombie • M. Hirono|
|111th||Senate: D. Inouye • D. Akaka||House: N. Abercrombie • M. Hirono • C. Djou|