The August 11 primary is getting close, and voters want to make an informed decision. What are voters looking for in a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate?

Current U.S Representative Mazie Hirono may have said it best in the last scheduled debate before the election, which aired on PBS Hawaii Thursday, June 14. “What the people of Hawaii are looking for is someone who shares their values,” said Hirono. Her opponent Ed Case countered, “The status quo [in Washington] is not going to fix the status quo” and accused Hirono of only doing work in an election year.

The two seem to share a lot of opinions: Both seek to create jobs, spur tourism, and support civil rights issues like gay marriage. Both are confident that they can defeat likely Republican candidate Linda Lingle. But there are differences. The pro-stimulus Hirono loves to harp on Case’s moderate budget principles. Case isn’t shy about accusing Mazie of being hyper-partisan. He also says he’s willing and ready for more debates, whereas Hirono says the four debates they have had are sufficient for voters to make up their minds, and that direct contact with constituents is the most important thing–an opinion she and Case share.

Matthew Kain