Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) is blaming his landslide defeat in the Democratic primary earlier this month on a backlash from religious leaders, who he says urged their followers to vote against him because of his successful work to pass legislation in favor of same-sex marriage in a 2013 special session of the legislature.
"Republicans crossed over en masse to vote in the Democratic primary, and then the religious factor came in," Abercrombie told reporters, according to the Associated Press. "Doctrinally I was outside the circle and paid for it."
But, he added, losing his office was worth the accomplishment: "There's no way I could live with myself if I thought I was diminishing another human being's ability to reach their full capacity."
However, there are a number of reasons to doubt Abercrombie's argument. The AP's report also notes that voters they previously spoke with outside polling stations during the primary three weeks ago listed other local issues, such as Abercrombie's handling of contract negotiations with the state's teachers — and not gay marriage — as their reasons for voting against him. Moreover, Abercrombie had already become a deeply unpopular governor in polls going all the way back to 2011, the very first year of his term, and he never did recover.
It also might be worth pointing out that the man who defeated Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, state Sen. David Ige, actually voted in favor of the bill to legalize gay marriage. Ige won the primary by a margin of 67 percent to 31 percent.