HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ed Case bested a crowded field of contenders Saturday to win the Democratic primary for the congressional seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.
"It's such an incredible result," Case told Hawaii News Now, with cheering supporters behind him and a pile of lei around his neck. "I feel incredibly humbled by the support of the voters. It just means so much to us."
Case was among a a half-dozen seasoned politicians in the Democratic primary race for the seat, and was a front-runner as soon as he filed.
The other contenders for the seat: Lt. Gov. Doug Chin, state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, state reps. Kaniela Ing and Beth Fukumoto and City Council Chairman Ernie Martin.
Chin was in second place in the race, and thanked his supporters at his campaign headquarters.
"We're so grateful that we've been able to stand here with this group," he said.
The Congressional District 1 seat covers the south side of Oahu, from Hawaii Kai to Kapolei and Mililani.
Hanabusa's surprise decision to run for governor created an irresistible vacancy in Hawaii's congressional delegation. And while Case was the last to enter the race — on the final day to file — name recognition and experience in Washington made him an immediate front-runner.
He's sought to highlight that record throughout the campaign.
And political analyst Colin Moore said that played well for him.
After the HNN Debate, Moore said Case did everything he needed to do at the forum.
"I think Ed Case won this," he said. "He emphasized his experience."
Before Case entered the race, Chin — the public face of Hawaii's fight against Trump's travel bans — was the early front-runner.
During his two years as state attorney general, Chin led the state's legal fight against President Trump's travel bans.
Kim, meanwhile, is taking her second run at the seat. The former state senate president was known for grilling state officials. She'll remain in the state senate if she doesn't win the congressional seat.
Fukumoto generated national headlines for leaving the Republican Party after being attacked for her anti-Trump comments and progressive positions.
Ing, meanwhile, may have lost ground when he was fined more than $15,000 for campaign spending violations as a state House candidate — and was criticized for touting a master's degree that he hadn't earned.
And Martin reclaimed the council chairmanship while running for Congress, considerably raising his visibility at a key moment.