(ABOVE) Video of Senator Brian Schatz enjoys news of his primary victory in Hilo with supporters and media
Video by David Corrigan
HILO, Hawaii – The HGEA office building on Manono Street in Hilo played the role of Honolulu campaign headquarters for one night, as U.S. Senator Brian Schatz stopped in to celebrate his primary election victory following a special election in Puna.
Honolulu network TV stations went live as Schatz entered the room to hug supporters and conduct a quick victory speech before catching a plane back home to Oahu. Schatz has spent the long week away from his family, working hard not just for votes but to help kokua Puna, hard hit by the hurricane force of Iselle. As a result of the downed trees and loss of power in the wake of the storm, the election was postponed in two key Puna precincts. The too-close-to-call Senate race came down to those 8,000 registered voters in the devastated Puna district.
Today’s activity at Keonopoko Elementary School gave Schatz a total of 115,401 votes (48.5% among Democrats), which was enough to defeat Representative Colleen Hanabusa who ended up with 113,632 (47.8%).
The final precinct report for the Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center (04-01) tallied 469 votes for Schatz (56.8%) and 341 for Hanabusa (41.3%). The percentages are similar to the absentee walk-in numbers – cast in the days before the storm – for the same precinct: 139 for Schatz and 97 for Hanabusa. Same could be said for the Mail-In Absentee Ballots. Schatz: 355 (54.9%), Hanabusa 260 (40.2%)
The final precinct report for Keonepoko (04-02) had Hanabusa with 252 (50.7%) over Schatz with 233 (46.9%) Hanabusa also had more walk-in absentee votes (33 to 18) and mail in votes, 143 to 112.
In the days between the August 9th primary and the August 15th special election in Puna, Hanabusa argued that the vote should be delayed because “voters in the affected precincts are still without power and water and many roads are inaccessible or blocked with debris” and that residents in Puna’s other hard hit districts – like Kalapana, Kapoho or Nanawale – were as equally affected as those in HPP and Hawaiian Shores. Hanabusa tried to delay the vote in the courts, but a judge ruled against her.