Hirono, Gabbard and Case cruise to victories

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

With all but one precinct and some late mail-in votes counted, Hirono captured more than 266,000 votes, compared with about 108,000 for Republican challenger Ron Curtis.

Gabbard received more than 147,00 votes, topping Republican Brian Evans’ 43,254 votes.

With all precincts counted, Case tallied 130,384 votes, defeating former state Rep. Cam Cavasso, who received just over 41,000 votes.

Photos from Election Night in Hawaii

The Democratic sweep came as the Republicans nationally retained control of the Senate and the Democrats wrestled away control of the House.

Hirono told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that she was grateful for people’s support and pleased that the Democrats regained control of the House.

“That will be a check on this runaway president,” she said, referring to President Trump.

Gabbard told supporters she would continue to address environmental concerns, Hawaii’s high cost of living and other priorities.

“There’s more opportunity than people might realize in being able to find creative solutions to tackle these challenges,” she said.

For Case, his 54-percentage point lead after the first printout was large enough to declare victory as he thanked his supporters.

“That’s a great margin,” he told them.“I don’t know how you overcome that. So I feel pretty comfortable that we have won this.”

The intense partisanship nationally was on the minds of some Hawaii voters, including Asami Kobayashi, a 5th-year University of Hawaii student who waved signs for Case.

“I think there’s a lot of division right now in our country and I think we need someone who’s willing to work across the aisle and really put Hawaii’s interests first when representing us in Congress, and I think Ed’s the guy who can do that for us,” she said.

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.

“I don’t think there’s anything surprising here,” he said of the congressional votes.

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

A prominent critic of President 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.

Curtis, a retired systems engineer from Kauai, beat out seven other Republicans to get onto the November ballot.

Case, 66, advanced to the general by capturing almost 39 percent of the primary vote for the 1st congressional seat, topping a field of six other Democratic candidates. In Congress, he was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally moderate and conservative Democrats.

Cavasso, a financial adviser, 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. She has served in Congress since 2013.

Evans, a Maui author and singer, ran unopposed in the primary.

Hirono holds one of two U.S. Senate seats for Hawaii. U.S. 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 Congressional 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.

Gabbard had more than $2 million as of mid-October, while Evans did not have a finance report on the commission’s website.

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

Staff writer Nina Wu contributed to this report.


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