Incumbent Brian Schatz clinched the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate as the Hawaii Elections Office released results of Friday’s late voting in storm-damaged Puna, plus 800 previously uncounted Maui ballots.
Schatz picked up 1,601 votes in results announced Friday, while U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa got 1,467. That gave him 48.5 percent of the vote to Hanabusa’s 47.8 percent. The total vote count as of Friday evening was 115,401 for Schatz to 113,632 for Hanabusa — a difference of just 1,769 votes.
“This has been an extraordinary week for all of us,” Schatz said as he greeted supporters after the results were announced. “This is an extraordinary night.”
Schatz thanked his supporters and also was effusive in his praise of people from all over the state who pitched in to help the storm victims in Puna and “to help our community recover.”
Hanabusa, speaking with her supporters after the results came in, said she had not yet considered her political future.
“I’m still a member of Congress, I still have my term to fill out,” she said.
Hanabusa lamented that many voters never got the chance to go to the polls due to the storm, including many in precincts where the election was held Aug. 9.
And on Friday, only voters registered in the two Puna precincts were allowed to vote. Others were turned away even if they hadn’t been able to vote last Saturday.
“I think that their stories were heart-wrenching and they could not understand why they could not …