HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The day after a bruising primary campaign, gubernatorial rivals Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann put aside their primary rivalry and greeted each other warmly Sunday at the Hawaii Democratic Party's Unity Breakfast.
Party members, including Abercrombie, stood and applauded when Hannemann entered the room at the Japanese Cultural Center.
The former Honolulu mayor was gracious in defeat, firmly swinging his support to the former congressman.
"The people of Hawaii have spoken," Hannemann said.
Looking at Abercrombie, Hannemann said, "Neil, I'll say again what I said to you last night. We're supporting you for the governorship."
The room erupted into applause.
In return, Abercrombie acknowledged his former opponent, despite the tough campaign and not-always-friendly rivalry.
"We both understand what competition is all about," said Abercrombie. "We understand that at the end of that competition, that you recognize the common humanity, and that your vision is one."
Even though he won by a large margin, Abercrombie said he will still work to gain the trust of voters who cast their ballots for Hannemann.
"We have to honor, and I have to earn and make sure that people understand that I'm asking for their consideration, because I have to honor and respect the trust that was placed by those votes that went to Mufi Hannemann," Abercrombie told the gathering. "I intend to do that."
Party leaders said it was important to come together to regain Washington Place after eight years of a Republican administration. It was also important to show that all Democratic candidates, including those who opposed each other in the primary, could come together to campaign in the general election.
That included showing Abercrombie and Hannemann, united.
"I'm proud to be standing here and shaking your hand, and coming up to this stage today, Mufi. And I thank you," Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie, Hannemann and other candidates immediately left the breakfast to head to Maui and Kauai for similar unity events Sunday. They are scheduled to appear together at more events Monday in Kailua-Kona and Hilo on the Big Island.