- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 5, 2003

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaiian voters faced a ballot jammed with 44 candidates yesterday in the fourth election in 14 weeks for the nation's last unsettled congressional seat.
Rep. Ed Case, a cousin of AOL-Time Warner Chairman Steve Case, appeared to have the edge as the incumbent, though he has held the office for only a few weeks.
Mr. Case, a Democrat, easily won a special election five weeks ago to finish the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink's term. Mrs. Mink died shortly after winning the September primary, but she was still elected in November, which created the need for yesterday's special election.
The votes won't be counted until today in the 2nd District, which includes rural Oahu and all other islands. The previous special election, also held on a Saturday, attracted just 13.3 percent of the district's 347,922 eligible voters.
It was the nation's last unsettled congressional contest but will not affect Republican control of the House; with the Hawaii race undetermined, the House breakdown is 229 Republicans, 204 Democrats and one independent.
Mr. Case has won some strong endorsements, however traditional labor elements among the Democrats considered him too conservative to replace Mrs. Mink, who was one of Congress' most liberal members.
Among those competing with Mr. Case and the parade of perennial and little-known candidates was Democrat Matt Matsunaga, son of a former senator who lost his November bid to be lieutenant governor. Democratic state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa came on strong late in the campaign with slick campaign literature and newspaper and television ads.
The seat has been held by a Democrat since 1938, but Republicans hoped to pull off a turnaround, as they did when Linda Lingle became the first Republican governor in 40 years in November.
Leading Republican candidates included state Rep. Bob McDermott, who received 40 percent of the vote against Mrs. Mink in the general election, and state Reps. Barbara Marumoto and Chris Halford.

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