Hawaii congressman and former state representative Ed Case won yesterday’s second 2nd district special election to replace the late Rep. Patsy Mink in Washington, D.C. Case who already holds the post following the first special election held Nov. 30 is leaving for the nation’s capital tonight, to be sworn in Jan. 7. His month-long tenure will technically give him seniority over all other freshmen members of the 108th congress.
“My priorities will be directing the full resources of our federal government at addressing the 2nd District’s concerns, like economic revitalization, education reform, environmental protection, health and senior care, crime and ice, transportation and infrastructure, and Native Hawaiian issues,” Case said. “I will also continue Mrs. Mink’s exemplary record in individual constituent service.”
Case triumphed over 43 other candidates, netting 33,002 votes (43.2 percent). He defeated fellow Democrat and onetime law partner Matt Matsunaga, who got 23,050 votes (30.2 percent). Democrat Colleen Hanabusa followed with 6,046 votes (7.9 percent). The leading Republican candidate, Rep. Barbara Marumoto, ranked fourth with 4,497 votes (5.9 percent).
Of the 44 candidates running in the winner-take-all election, there were 12 Democrats, 16 Republicans, 13 independents, two Greens and one Libertarian. Of the top four candidates, Hanabusa was the only one who lived in the district to be represented.
The wide-open race barely heated up to a simmer in the last two weeks. Marumoto initially dominated the airwaves with television commercials. Matsunaga also built up momentum, with television ads initially depicting him playing basketball but building up to criticism of Case’s record in the state legislature.
Case condemned his former colleague’s ads, which focused on hot-button issues like raises for teachers, marijuana legalization, and same-sex marriage, saying they misrepresented his position and voting record.
In defeat, Matsunaga vowed to fight on, targeting the administration of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
“We face an administration that would favor privilege over work, that would ignore the needs of working familes, that would sacrifice our environment to profiteering, and that would deny the dignity that our indigenous population deserves,” he said.
A total of 76,328 voted in yesterday’s election, representing about 22 percent of registered voters.
Other top candidates and their vote counts include Republicans Bob McDermott (4,298 votes, 5.6 percent), Chris Halford (728 votes, 1 percent), Kimo Kaloa (642 votes, 0.8 percent), John Carroll (521 votes, 0.7 percent) and Frank F. Fasi (483 votes, 0.6 percent), followed by Mark McNett (N), Jim Rath (R), Richard H. Haake (R), Nelson J. Secretario (R) and Whitney T. Anderson (R).
Full election results are available on the state elections office website.