Path to Power
Abercrombie is a New Yorker by origin. He grew up in Buffalo and went to Union College in Schenectady to earn a B.A. in sociology in 1959. Following graduation, the University of Hawaii offered him a teaching assistantship in its sociology department.
"I think it was given to me specifically because I had come from the East Coast and they wanted some 'cross fertilization,'" he said. "It had nothing to do with my scholarly abilities. They came later."
Abercrombie has voted with his Democratic colleagues 98.4 percent of the time during the current Congress and 91 percent of the time throughout his Congressional career.
Abercrombie's economic record includes both pro-business policies and enhanced protections of consumers. Restaurant owners applauded his July 2009 proposal to increase the federal tax deduction for business meals from 50 percent to 80 percent.
Abercrombie became an early supporter of Obama's presidential bid and served as the honorary chair of the Hawaii Obama Campaign. At the campaign's request, Abercrombie stumped for Obama in many other jurisdictions around the country as well: wintertime North Dakota, Northern Minnesota, desert towns in Nevada, and rural Iowa. "I'm from Hawaii, so they figure it's a draw," he said. "Who would be crazy enough to come to North Dakota in the middle of winter from Hawaii? So let's come see this curious person."
Abercrombie supports other Congressional Democrats as chair of the Aloha Political Action Committee, which contributed $1,000 to the 2010 reelection campaign of Rep. Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.). The PAC lent back-to-back support in the 2006 and 2008 elections to Reps. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Baron Hill (D-IN), and Jim Marshall (D-GA).