Friday, August 29 2014 1:50 PM EDT2014-08-29 17:50:07 GMT
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In a 58-year-old ritual for Hawaii's Democrats, the party's candidates spent the evening before Saturday's primary election for the traditional "Grand Rally" in Hilo.
The event began with the traditional sign-waving on Kamehameha Avenue along the Hilo bayfront. Then the candidates and their supporters gathered at Mooheau Bandstand.
More than 30 Democrats, including candidates for the State Legislature, got to address the gathering.
The candidates in the hotly-contested race for the 2nd Congressional District were there. Mufi Hannemann listed his endorsements, including those from labor unions and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and touted his experience as a reason to be sent to Capitol Hill.
"This is a job that requires experience that counts, a proven track record, and willingness and desire to do what's best for you," Hannemann said.
His closest competitor in the race, Tulsi Gabbard, talked about what the race means for future generations, but not before acknowledging tradition.
"This really truly is a chicken-skin moment for me," Gabbard began. "It's such an honor to be here tonight. It's my first time on this stage to carry forward in the tradition that is so special the night before the primary election."
Senate candidate Mazie Hirono was already setting her sights on the general election.
"This senate seat is being watched all across the country because the Republicans have their number one draft pick in Linda Lingle," she said. Some in the crowd booed at the mention of Lingle's name.
Hirono's rival, Ed Case, stressed party unity.
"Look to your right. Look to your left. All you see is diversity. And yet we do have one thing in common, one thing in common. We are Democrats," said Case.
It was a theme echoed by the night's final speaker, Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
"You've seen candidates across the spectrum speaking tonight, and the theme here tonight has been unity with the way forward. The way forward together," said Abercrombie.
The Democrats, win or lose, will gather again the day after the primary for yet another party tradition -- the party's Unity Breakfast, Sunday morning in Honolulu.