- Associated Press - Sunday, August 10, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - A stormy primary election on the heels of the first hurricane to hit Hawaii in 22 years tossed out a sitting governor. It also set up an unprecedented post-election day contest between two Senate candidates separated by less than 2,000 votes with some voters hit by the storm still expected to cast ballots.

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GOVERNOR OUSTED

Hawaii will have a new governor after incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie lost to a little-known state senator in the Democratic primary. State Sen. David Ige easily coasted to victory on his promise to bring a less combative leadership style to the office.

Abercrombie, who has spent nearly 40 years in Hawaii politics, is the first Hawaii governor to lose to a primary challenger and only the second not to win re-election. Not even an endorsement from President Barack Obama - who recorded a radio ad for Abercrombie in the last weeks of the campaign - could help the sitting governor.

Abercrombie spent $4.9 million on the campaign to Ige’s $447,000 but Ige lined up key endorsements, including the support of the state’s public teachers union.

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SENATE RACE CONTINUES

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa are locked in a dead heat for the Democratic nomination for Senate with a race too close to call on election night. The candidates were separated by less than 2,000 votes or 1 percentage point late Saturday night.

Attention now shifts to the Puna district on the Big Island, where state elections officials postponed Saturday’s election in two precincts because Tropical Storm Iselle damaged roads earlier in the week. The storm’s violent winds and pounding rain toppled trees in the mostly agricultural, rural district, making some roads impassable. Many residents also lost power.

There are nearly 8,255 registered voters in the two precincts where the election was suspended. The state will mail ballots to voters who didn’t cast ballots by absentee or at early voting polling places.

But the state hasn’t laid out a timeline for that to happen.

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U.S. HOUSE

State Rep. Mark Takai emerged from a crowded field of seven candidates to win the Democratic nomination to represent urban Honolulu in the U.S. Congress. Takai will face Republican Charles Djou in the general election. Djou held the same seat for seven months from 2010 to 2011 after he won a three-way special election.

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LOW TURNOUT

More than 263,000 voters cast ballots in the primary election for a turnout of 38.2 percent. Absentee ballots made up nearly 53 percent of turnout, more than the 49 percent in the 2012 primary.

Hawaii has one of the lowest voter-turnout rates in the nation.

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STORMY SKIES

Some voters scrambled to get to the polls early in the week leading up to the election as Iselle approached and another hurricane loomed in the distance. Campaigns suspended events and took down yard signs so they wouldn’t be tossed around by the winds. Iselle weakened to a tropical storm, then passed through Hawaii late Thursday and early Friday. Voters in Honolulu went to the polls in muggy, post-hurricane weather on Saturday in Honolulu. Hurricane Julio was expected to pass north of the archipelago early Sunday.


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