HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With nearly 85% of voters in a recent Hawaii News Now poll saying that the rail issue would have an impact on their vote for Honolulu mayor, the 2012 general election showed that Hawaii voters favored the candidate who is committed to seeing the project continue.
Kirk Caldwell, who served as acting mayor of Honolulu in back in 2010, defeated former governor Ben Cayetano in their race to become Honolulu's next mayor, receiving 155,664, or 52.9 percent of the ballots cast. Cayetano received 133,154 votes, or 45.2 percent of the vote.
"Whether you voted for me or voted for Ben, I know that we all love this place," said Caldwell. "We may have different ideas about how to solve these problems, but we all have love in our hearts for the people that inhabit this island."
The fourth results printout, which was released at just after 11:00 p.m., consisted of nearly 100 percent of votes cast in the election.
Democrat Mazie Hirono won an often-combative race for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Akaka and will continue on to Washington, besting Republican Linda Lingle by a 61.7 percent (266,580 votes) to 36.8 percent (159,071 votes) margin after the third printout.
In a speech to supporters at her election headquarters, Lingle conceded the race to Hirono shortly after the second results printout was released.
"To the people all across the state who have helped us on every island, I want to say thank you," said Lingle. "I wish I could have provided a better result."
The results of the general election likely come as little surprise to the Hirono campaign, as a Hawaii News Now poll conducted by Ward Research last month showed she held a commanding 22 percentage-point lead over Lingle.
Democrat Colleen Hanabusa (114,826 votes, or 53.5 percent) defeated Republican Charles Djou (95,449 votes, or 44.5 percent) to retain her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Djou conceded the race to Hanabusa shortly after the third results printout was released.
Tulsi Gabbard, who handily defeated former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemman during the September primaries in what many called a stunning upset, earned another resounding victory in the 2012 general election. Gabbard received 167,182 votes, or a whopping 76.9% percent of the ballots counted, and has defeated Kawika Crowley in the race for District 2 (Windward, Central, and Leeward Oahu; North Shore; Outer Islands).
Crowley, a self-employed handyman who lives out of his van in Kaneohe, campaigned as a champion for the working homeless and pledged to donate half of his congressional salary to charity.
The winners of the Congressional races across the state will head to Washington to work with an executive branch helmed by a familiar face: earlier tonight, Punahou graduate Barack Obama was reelected as president of the United States, defeating Republican Mitt Romney. For more information on the presidential race, click here.
On the Big Island, in the closest race of the night, incumbent Billy Kenoi was re-elected as mayor of Hawaii County with 31,433 votes, or 49.9 percent of the ballots cast. Harry Kim, who was Big Island mayor between 2000 and 2008 and preceded Kenoi in office, received 29,976 votes, or 47.6 percent of the vote.
The two candidates have a history that dates back decades. Kim was Kenoi's childhood football coach, and Kenoi later served as executive assistant to Kim while he was mayor. Kenoi defeated Kim by nearly 3,600 votes in during September's primary election.
In the races for seats on the Honolulu City Council, Kymberly Marcos Pyne defeated incumbent Tom Berg in the race for District 1 (Ewa Beach, Kapolei, West Oahu), with Ann Kobayashi winning the seat in District 5 (Manoa, Moiliili, Palolo).