Hawaii Democrats in the congressional races won easy victories Tuesday night, with U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa all headed back to Washington D.C.
Schatz, 44, won over Republican lawyer John Carroll to claim his first full, six-year term in the U.S. Senate.
Schatz had 289,298 votes to Carroll’s 87,270 votes late tonight, giving Schatz more than 70 percent of the vote, with all precincts counted.
Schatz was lieutenant governor when he was appointed by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2012 to fill out the unexpired term of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. Schatz went on to defeat Hanabusa in a special election in 2014 to retain the senate seat, and is now the senior senator from Hawaii.
Carroll is an Air Force fighter pilot and Korean War veteran. He served four terms in the state House of Representatives and one term in the state Senate in the 1970s, but has never been able to climb the political ladder any further.
Carroll, 86, lost bids to become governor in 2002 and 2010, and also ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and 2012. This year he raised less than $54,000 to fund the senate race, according to Federal Elections Commission records.
By contrast, Schatz began this election season with $3 million in campaign cash on hand, and by mid-October had spent more than $1.7 million on the 2016 campaign. That included $500,000 he donated to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to try to help shift control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats.
Hanabusa, meanwhile, held an insurmountable lead in her effort to return to the U.S. House to represent urban Honolulu. Hanabusa is a candidate in both the general election and a special election to decide who will serve out the final two months of the late Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Takai’s term. Takai died on July 20 from pancreatic cancer.
Hanabusa, 65, is a lawyer and former president of the Hawaii State Senate who represented urban Honolulu in the U.S. House from 2010 until 2014. She left the House to make an unsuccessful run against Schatz to try to move up to the U.S. Senate, and more recently helped to oversee the Honolulu rail project as chairwoman of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
Hanabusa was far in front of a crowded field of 10 candidates who filed to run for the special election to serve out the remaining months of Takai’s term, and also led by a wide margin the four candidates who filed for the general election contest to hold the seat for the following two years.
Hanabusa’s opponents include Republican Shirlene D. Ostrov, 47, a retired Air Force colonel who is making her first run for public office. She is chief executive officer of a Washington, D.C.-based transportation and shipping logistics company called Ares Mobility Solutions.
Hanabusa had 135,069 votes in the general election contest, while Ostrov had 42,569 votes. In the special election, Hanabusa had 120,112 votes to Ostrov’s 40,883 votes.
Gabbard, who has ranked among Hawaii’s most popular politicians in recent polling, also held a very large lead in her effort to win a third term in the U.S. House representing the neighbor islands and rural Oahu.
Gabbard, 35, is a Hawaii Army National Guard major and an Iraq War veteran. Her Republican opponent is real estate developer Angela Aulani Kaaihue.
The third printout of the night showed Gabbard with 163,484 votes, or more than 76 percent of the vote, while Kaaihue had 38,098.
Kaaihue took the rare step of acknowledging in a news release last summer she had little chance of winning her race with Gabbard. She also offered to withdraw from the race if Democratic Gov. David Ige would help her to resolve a legal dispute involving an 82-acre property her family owns in Waimalu.
Kaaihue also filed this year to run as a Democrat in the special election to replace Takai to represent urban Honolulu, and is listed on the special election ballot. The Hawaii Democratic Party filed suit in September to try to have her name removed from the ballot but was unsuccessful.