Schatz, Case and Tokuda Prevail in Hawaiian Primaries
Lt. Gov. Josh Green Also Among Top Vote Getters
HONOLULU, Hawaii — Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Ed Case, incumbent Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz, and Hawaii’s current Democratic Lt. Gov. Josh Green won their respective primary contests on Saturday.
The state’s top vote getter on Saturday was Schatz, who was serving as lieutenant governor when he was appointed to serve out the rest of Sen. Daniel Inouye’s term after Inouye’s death in 2012.
At the time, the appointment made Schatz the youngest U.S. senator in the 112th Congress. Since then he’s won a special election to complete the remainder of Inouye’s term, and was reelected in 2016 to a full six-year term of his own.
On Saturday night, 227,599 voters sent a loud and clear message that they like the job he’s doing.
Schatz’s opponent in the Democratic primary was 72-year-old Steve Tataii, a conflict resolution consultant, who garnered just 15,655 votes.
Schatz will now face longtime state Rep. Bob McDermott in the general election.
McDermott, a Republican, has maintained that the primary reason he’s running is he wants to complete the shutdown of the military’s polluting Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Honolulu.
On Saturday, he bested a field of five candidates, receiving 25,557, followed by Timothy Dalhouse with 17,066, Wallyn Christian with 9,414, Seven Bond with 6,363 and Asia LaVonne with 6,134.
In the Governor’s Race
Green, who was seeking the Democratic nod for governor, handily defeated former Hawaiian first lady Vicky Cayetano and Kaiali’i Kahele, who decided to seek the governor’s office instead of a second term in the U.S. House.
When all was said and done, Green received 157,476 votes, while Cayetano received 52,237 and Kahele, 37,540.
Four other candidates received the remaining 1.22% of the vote.
Green will face former two-term Republican Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, who received 37,406 votes in the GOP gubernatorial primary, coming in well ahead of mixed martial arts championship fighter B.J. Penn, who received 19,667.
Eight other candidates participating in the Republican primary received a combined 24.32% of the vote.
Heading into November, Green and Aiona will tangle primarily over Hawaii’s high housing costs, which are considered the state’s top issue. The median price of a single-family home in the state now stands at about $1 million.
Green has said he will address the issue by signing an executive order that would eliminate red tape and streamline construction approvals and enforce existing laws to shut down illegal vacation rentals.
Aiona wants to eliminate the state’s Land Use Commission, which he blamed for slowing housing development.
The state’s other big vote getter, as already mentioned, was Rep. Ed Case in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.
He received a total 100,219 votes, crushing his progressive challenger, Sergio Alcubilla, who received 20,242.
Alcubilla, who worked as a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, ran against Case largely based on the incumbent’s hesitancy to embrace President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
But any traction that argument might have had fizzled on Friday when the House voted to pass the slimmed down version of the plan, now known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
As for the Republican contest in the 1st Congressional District, Conrad Kress garnered 13,363 votes while Arturo Reyes got 7,419 and Patrick Largey, 5,745.
There were also two nonpartisan candidates running. Calvin Griffin received 265, or 9.2% of the votes, while Steven Abkin garnered 227 or 7.9% of the votes.
Over in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, businesswoman and former State Sen. Jill Tokuda bested challenger Patrick Pihana Branco. In terms of votes, Tokuda received 62,056 compared to Branco’s 26,965.
Four other Democratic candidates combined for 17.23% of the votes.
Among Republicans, Joe Akana received 28,030 while his challenger, Joseph Webster, received 5,382.
Michelle Tippens, the only Libertarian on the ballot, received 341 votes.