U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz was leading U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa early Sunday morning in the Democratic primary race to replace the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Hanabusa started off the evening with a slight lead but the results flipped as the night wore on.
The latest election results released Sunday morning had Schatz with 48.5 percent of the vote and Hanabusa with 47.8 percent, as of 3:25 a.m. Sunday.
Just 1,635 votes separate the two.
When news broke of the swing in Schatz’s favor his campaign headquarters erupted in cheers.
But no one was declaring victory. Some votes were still not counted, including two districts in Puna where the election was postponed due to Tropical Storm Iselle.
Hanabusa spoke to a crowd of about 200 people who were gathered at her election party at The Hall of Laborers’ Local 368 in Kalihi. Supporters were using their Hanabusa signs as fans to try to cool off from the muggy heat.
“It’s been an amazing campaign,” Hanabusa said to cheers.
She reminded supporters that she was out funded and had less money to spend on ads.
“This election is not over,” she declared. “It’s far from over.”
Asked if Hanabusa would be taking the campaign to the Big Island, Peter Boylan, her campaign manager said, “Yes. Definitely.”
There are about 8,000 registered voters in the two districts who will be allowed to vote by absentee ballots if they haven’t done so already.