Former Honolulu City Councilman Rod Tam lost badly to state Rep. Karl Rhoads tonight in the race for an open state Senate seat representing downtown Honolulu, Nuuanu, Iwilei and Liliha.
Rhoads had 9,449 votes to Tam’s 3,262 in the third election printout of the evening, with all precincts reporting.
Tam has been dogged by his 2011 conviction for stealing city funds and violating campaign spending laws as he sought to return to state politics.
Tam spent two days in jail in the case and was ordered by the City Ethics Commission to repay the city $13,700 for using city funds to cover hundreds of meals at places like Zippy’s that were unrelated to his duties as a councilman.
Rhoads and Tam are competing for the senate seat vacated by Senate Human Services Chairwoman Suzanne Chun Oakland, who announced this year she is stepping down.