Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was sailing smoothly into a second two-year term Tuesday night, leading Republican Kawika Crowley in the race to represent rural Oahu and the neighbor islands in the U.S. House.
Gabbard had 76 percent of the vote, to 18 percent for Crowley, according to early returns. Libertarian Joe Kent had 2 percent.
Gabbard, a 33-year-old rising star in the Democratic Party, hardly had to campaign this election after running unopposed in the Aug. 9 primary.
Tuesday marks the second time Gabbard has defeated Crowley, a 63-year-old professional handyman and advertising consultant.
In Gabbard’s first shot at a congressional seat in 2012, she blew past former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the Democratic primary and then beat Crowley in the general, winning 77 percent of the vote.
This election season she’s spent more time helping others and presumably laying the groundwork for future elections, although it’s uncertain what position she might seek. There’s been speculation that Gabbard might run for the Senate.
Gabbard and her political action committee have spent thousands of dollars helping fellow Democrats in Hawaii and on the mainland.
The day after state Rep. Mark Takai beat six other candidates in the primary for the 1st Congressional District seat, Gabbard’s PAC gave his campaign $2,600. He was tied in the polls with Republican Charles Djou
Voters have given state Rep. Mark Takai the nod over Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and five other candidates vying for the Democratic slot in the 1st Congressional District race.
With most precincts reporting by early Sunday morning, Takai was the winner with 43 percent of the vote, 52,719 people casting their ballots for him. Kim had 27 percent, followed by Honolulu City Council members Stanley Chang at 10 percent, Ikaika Anderson at 6 percent and Joey Manahan at 4 percent. State Sen. Will Espero had 4 percent and human rights advocate Kathryn Xian had 3 percent.
Takai will face Republican Charles Djou in the Nov. 4 general election. Djou easily defeated Allan Levene with 91 percent of the vote.
The crowd at Kim’s campaign headquarters at Ward Plaza was subdued after early election results were announced. A few dozen supporters had been all smiles, waving their blue “Donna Mercado Kim” signs for live TV news reports. But it was more about the great spread of local food after seeing her down 18 percent early in the evening.
Takai’s election-night headquarters in the courtyard at Ferguson’s Pub was packed most of the night. Several dozen supporters wore their white campaign T-shirts and carried matching signs, cheering when he made appearances with his family.
Just before 10 p.m., Takai walked with his family down a tunnel of
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