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U.S. Senate, mayoral races top November election

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 4:15 a.m. HST, Oct 21, 2012

A once-in-a-generation open seat for U.S. Senate. A Honolulu mayor's race that could decide the fate of a $5.26 billion rail project. A rematch for Congress in urban Honolulu. A favorite son who wants another four years in the White House.


Hawaii's 2012 general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Anyone in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote. The Office of Elections urges people to vote during off-peak hours, 9:30-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. There will be mail-in balloting in small precincts this year.

» General voting information

» List of polling locations by district


» A list of all Hawaii candidates, including Q&As on top issues and proposed charter amendments

» More elections coverage


Voters will have important choices in the November election.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, and former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, are vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. The campaign is the first open Senate seat in Hawaii since U.S. Sen. Hiram Fong, R-Hawaii, chose to retire instead of run for re-election in 1976.

Hirono, a liberal, has said that she would better reflect Hawaii values. She would raise the tax burden on the wealthy, protect Social Security and Medicare, and preserve the federal health care reform law. Lingle, a moderate, has said she would take a bipartisan approach to leadership. She opposes higher taxes on the wealthy, would make adjustments to Social Security and Medicare to extend the life of the entitlement programs, and repeal the health care reform law unless significant changes are made.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano and former acting Mayor and city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell are in a run-off for Honolulu mayor. Cayetano has promised to stop the rail project if elected. He would instead pursue a bus-rapid transit plan to help address traffic congestion. Caldwell supports the rail project with modifications to station locations, architecture and visual impact.

Rail construction has been halted after the state Supreme Court ruled that an archaeological survey to map ancestral remains needed to be done on the entire 20-mile route, not in phases. The Federal Transit Administration is awaiting the election results before announcing whether the city will receive $1.55 billion in federal money for the project.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, and former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a Republican, are set for a rematch in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District, the third time they have faced each other in 21⁄2 years.

Hawaii-born President Barack Obama is up for re-election against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama swept the islands with 72 percent of the vote in 2008, the highest of any state and second only to the District of Columbia.

In Hawaii County, Mayor Billy Kenoi is in a run-off against former Mayor Harry Kim, his former boss.

State House and Senate campaigns will determine the degree of one-party control at the state Legislature: Democrats have a 43-to-8 majority in the House and a 24-to-1 majority in the Senate.

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