Hawaii elects 3 Democrats to Congress by a landslide

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard were on their way to easily winning re-election today, and former Rep. Ed Case also is headed back to Congress, ensuring an all-Democratic delegation for the islands once again.

Early vote totals tonight showed the two incumbents besting their Republican opponents by wide margins and Case, who served in Congress from 2002 to 2005, also enjoying a commanding lead.

Hirono received 70.7 percent of the vote, compared with 26.6 percent for her opponent, Ron Curtis; Gabbard had 74.4 percent, compared with 20.7 percent for Brian Evans; and Case tallied 73.5 percent, compared with 19.5 for former Rep. Cam Cavasso.

The powerful showing by the Hawaii Democrats came as the Republicans nationally retained control of the Senate and the Democrats wrestled control of the House.

Todd Belt, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, put the election results into a broader political context. “Hawaii has been turning steadily more blue,” he said.

From that perspective, Republicans had little chance of making inroads here, according to Belt.

Hirono, who turned 71 on Saturday, ran unopposed in the primary, receiving nearly 202,000 votes.

A prominent critic of President Donald Trump, Hirono is finishing her first six-year term in the Senate. She previously served as a representative in Congress, Hawaii lieutenant governor and state representative.

Her opponent, Ron Curtis, a retired systems engineer from Kauai, beat out seven other Republicans to get onto the November ballot. He received nearly 20 percent of the August vote.

Case, 66, advanced to the general by capturing nearly 39 percent of the primary vote for the 1st Congressional District seat, topping a field of six other Democratic candidates. Lt. Gov. Doug Chin finished second with about 25 percent.

Case served in Congress from 2002 to 2005 and was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally moderate and conservative Democrats.

On the Republican side, Cavasso, a financial advisor, received nearly 70 percent of the August vote, defeating Raymond Vinole.

In the race for the 2nd Congressional seat, Gabbard, 31, claimed 75 percent of the primary votes cast, easily beating two other candidates. Sherry Campagna finished second with 11 percent.

Gabbard has served in Congress since 2013.

Her Republican opponent, Brian Evans, a Maui author and singer, ran unopposed in the primary.

Hirono holds one of two U.S. Senate seats for Hawaii. Sen. Brian Schatz was not up for re-election.

The 1st Congressional District covers urban Honolulu, stretching from Makapuu to Mililani and Ko Olina. The seat was vacated by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who failed in her bid to beat Gov. David Ige in the August primary.

The 2nd District covers rural areas of Oahu and the neighbor islands.

The victors in all three races not only had a clear advantage in name recognition but also in campaign funds.

Hirono, for instance, had about $1.5 million in her campaign war-chest as of mid-October, compared with $2,420 for her Republican opponent, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Hirono and Gabbard also had the power of incumbency behind them.

For full Honolulu Star-Advertiser coverage of the 2018 General Election, go to 808ne.ws/SA2018VOTE.


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