Voters disagree on dramatic end to Hawaii's U.S. Senate showdown

Voters disagree on dramatic end to Hawaii's U.S. Senate showdown
Brian Schatz
Brian Schatz
Colleen Hanabusa
Colleen Hanabusa

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The special election is finally done but the heated debate isn't over.

Now that he has won, Senator Brian Schatz says he is taking a short break from campaigning to hit the beach.

Meanwhile, Representative Colleen Hanabusa hasn't ruled out a legal challenge.

After months of door-to-door campaigning and an unexpected week-long shoulder-to-shoulder effort with the people of Puna, incumbent Brian Schatz is now one step closer to filling late Senator Daniel Inouye's seat in the United States Senate.

It was a fight to the end and a hard fought win with Brian Schatz walking out victoriously.

"Last week in particular has been really extraordinary for me. I spent the whole week on the Big Island with Puna residents as they struggled to recover and I made life-long friends and I started to really understand what people are going through in East Hawaii," said Schatz.

It's believed to be the closest statewide election in Hawaii's history.

"This was as close as many of us said it would be from the very beginning, probably closer. It was a very close, tough race. Colleen Hanabusa is certainly well known and a tough opponent," HGEA Executive Director and Schatz supporter Randy Perreira said.

With less than a 1-percent difference in votes, it's no surprise that some local residents are furious with the outcome.

“I was devastated. I from the Big Island too and I figure that most of the locals over there would have vote for one local lady like Hanabusa. But they when swing the other way," said Scottie Matthews from Kalihi.

“I'm not real impressed with the direction that the country's going at times and I was hoping for a new candidate," said Cindy Staples, a Hawaii Kai resident.

"We knew that this was going to be a difficult race, no matter what the polls show," said Norman Mizuguchi, Schatz' campaign co-chair.

It was a razor-thin margin of just over 1,700 votes; the final printout including 800 votes that went uncounted from Maui County; defeated contestant Colleen Hanabusa attempting to challenge the special election; Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard calling on the governor and the Office of Elections to delay the elections even further to give everyone on the Big Island a chance to vote, certainly made it a primary Hawaii has never seen before.

Hawaii News Now reached out to Representative Hanabusa for an interview. She declined the request.

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