U.S. Senate race for Democrats is too close to call

Two precincts in the Puna district on the Big Island reported their tallies to the state Office of Elections.

Pahoa Community Center had Schatz with 364 votes, and Hanabusa, 319.

Pahoa High and Intermediate School, Schatz, 375; Hanabusa, 284.

Overall, Schatz leads Hanabusa by 1,635 votes.


The race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate could go on for days.

With such a narrow margin, a winner may not be declared until votes are cast and counted in two polling places in Hawaii County — communities that were deemed isolated due to impassable roads after Iselle.

After the 5th printout, Sen. Brian Schatz was less than 2,000 votes ahead of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, so the two polling places that have yet to cast a ballot consist of roughly 6,000 voters, which could determine the race.

“The most interesting part of it though is it tells everyone that the neighbor islands are going to determine the outcome,” Hanabusa said. “My neighbor island supporters said that the mantra they say is “We matter,” and this is truly a situation where it’s going to come down to how the neighbor islands are going to vote.”

“Obviously no one could have conceived an election like this, either in terms of the closeness or in terms of the hurricane hitting the Big Island and the real challenges that people on the Big Island are going through right now,” Schatz said. “That’s I think what has to be first in all of our minds.”

Hanabusa was in the lead for the first three printouts, although by the third printout, that lead had narrowed to a mere 11 votes.

Both candidates said they were shocked by the numbers.

Peruse our live blog for a full recap of the night, plus video interviews.

In one of the most hotly contested races of the Democratic primary election, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa are vying to become the Democratic candidate in the running to fill the final two years of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye’s term. Last month, the two faced off in a live debate hosted by KHON2 and AARP Hawaii.

Brian Schatz (D): The 41-year-old incumbent and former chairman of the local Democratic party started his political career as a state representative in 1999, served seven terms, then became lieutenant governor to Gov. Abercrombie in 2010. In December, 2012, Schatz was appointed by the governor to serve out the remainder of the late Daniel Inouye’s term in the U.S. Senate. He chairs two Senate subcommittee panels on Tourism, Innovation and Competitiveness; and Water and Power.

Colleen Hanabusa (D): Widely known as Inouye’s personal choice as his successor to his U.S. Senate seat, Hanabusa has served in the U.S. House since 2011. Before that in 2007, she was the first woman to serve as president of the Hawaii State Senate. Hanabusa is currently a member of the House Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees, and is ranking member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.

Cam Cavasso (R): Cavasso previously held elected office, serving three terms as a Windward Oahu representative, and is currently a financial adviser and owner of a contracting firm. He describes himself as a constitutional and fiscal conservative.

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