Hawaii Democrats sweep top races, cement hold on power

November 7, 2018
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Hawaii Gov. David Ige, left, and Dawn Ige greet supporters after the incumbent defeated Republican candidate Andria Tupola for a second term, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s Democrats notched overwhelming victories as they rolled over Republicans in midterm elections and cemented their control over the state’s highest offices.

Gov. David Ige easily won re-election over state Rep. Andria Tupola on Tuesday to secure a second four-year term. Democrats won all three contests for Congress by large margins.

Ige told supporters after his win that he was proud to stand up to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party that was “taking our country in the wrong direction.” He thanked all those who worked on his campaign with him.

“It’s proof again that when we work together, we can do great things,” Ige said to loud cheers.

Tupola conceded the race but told supporters she wasn’t done leading.

She asked supporters to look at the children in the room as she vowed to continue to address Hawaii’s high housing costs, a top issue in her campaign.

“We are the change and our time is now. I’m telling you right now there is nothing that will stop us,” Tupola said. She called on her supporters to work even harder with her the next time.

Honolulu attorney Jonathan Burge said his distaste for the way President Donald Trump has been “drumming up all the hatred” led him to vote for Democrats.

“Normally I would look all around. I just went straight Democrat on everything not even thinking about it,” Burge said.

Retiree Kenny Deen Quon of Honolulu said acrimony between Tupola and her running mate, Marissa Kerns, hurt the Republican ticket.

“I was ready to vote for Andria Tupola but I didn’t because I see that she’s beefing with her candidate. I wanted to vote for women to get into these better positions,” said the 64-year-old.

Kerns said she missed a KITV candidate debate last month because Tupola deliberately failed to tell her she was invited. Tupola denied this, and said she told Kerns she was also invited. Earlier in the year, Kerns said Tupola should apologize for her voting record in the state House because it was too liberal.

Ige, 61, vowed in his second term to boost affordable housing in a state where half of renters spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing.

He touted his record of promoting affordable housing, boosting teacher pay and installing air conditioning in over 1,000 public school classrooms.

Ige is an electrical engineer who served in the state Legislature from the mid-1980s through 2014, when he ousted incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic Party primary.

Tupola, 37, aimed to become Hawaii’s first Republican governor since Linda Lingle led the state from 2002 to 2010.

She said she would decrease Hawaii’s homeless rate and boost housing construction by reducing the length of time required to obtain permits. She pledged to cut local taxes and help development projects get capital grants.

The Republican Party is vastly outnumbered in legislative races this year, contesting only five of the 13 state Senate seats and 17 of 51 House seats.

In congressional races, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono beat her Republican challenger, retired engineer Ron Curtis.

Democratic former U.S. Rep. Ed Case came out of retirement to defeat Cam Cavasso, a Republican former state legislator. The seat is being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who unsuccessfully challenged Ige for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard won re-election to her fourth term in Congress representing rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands. She’s beat a challenge by Republican Brian Evans, a singer and songwriter.

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