Newcomer congressional candidate Tulsi Gabbard won a surprisingly easy victory in her 2nd Congressional District race against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann tonight and old pro Ben Cayetano will face off in November against former city Managing Director for Honolulu mayor.
Gabbard received 54 per cent of the votes cast, with Hannemann gathering 33.6 per cent.
It was a stinging defeat for Hannemann in a race that he began as a prohibitive favorite. And the loss followed Hanneman’s 2010 gubernatiorial election defeat by Neil Abercrombie.
In the U.S. Senate Democratic primary election between Mazie Hirono and Ed Case, Hirono easily defeated Case and will meet Republican former Gov. Linda Lingle in the November general election in a race that has already attracted national attention.
The Honolulu mayor’s race pitted incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle and Caldwell as candidates who favored the the planned $5.2 billion Honolulu rapid transit project against former Gov. Cayetano, an adamant rail opponent.
Cayetano drew 44.2 per cent of the total, Caldwell 29.1 per cent and Carlisle trailed at 24 per cent.
If any candidate won 50 per cent plus one vote in tonight’s mayoral primary, he would have been elected outright.
But Cayetano is now headed to a general election run-off with Cayetano in a race that has already featured well over $1 million in advertising expenses.
“We like what we see,” Cayetano said.
An elated Caldwell said the results showed him “closing in” on Cayetano.
Gabbard’s margin of victory was the biggest surprise of the night. If elected in November, Gabbard, 31, would be one of the youngest members of Congress as well as its first of Samoan heritage.
She was joined by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka at her campaign headquarters and thanked her supporters.
Akaka said Gabbard, a former aide, “is a great leader” and “a great person.”