HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kai Kahele is all but assured a seat in Congress.
The state senator easily won the Democratic primary Saturday night for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District seat, which represents the Neighbor Islands and most of suburban and rural Oahu.
Because Hawaii is so blue, Kahele is virtually guaranteed election in November.
On the Republican side, Joe Akana won Saturday night’s primary for the seat.
He said it’s important to offer voters a choice. “One of the things I’d like to work on and I’ve seen bipartisan support on is continuation of the update of the Jones Act that needs to be taken care of,” he said. “That’s a 1920s legislation that as of right now seems a little bit outdated. If we can update that, can we help the people of Hawaii? We need to get more jobs, just the cost of living alone.”
Kahele’s success on election night isn’t really a surprise. He was the only front-runner for the seat headed into the primary election, and spent the last four months on active duty helping the Hawaii National Guard respond to the coronavirus pandemic instead of campaigning.
Kahele announced his plans to run for the seat in December 2018, getting an early start on fundraising.
He became the front-runner when Tulsi Gabbard announced she wouldn’t run for re-election.
“We worked extremely hard for the last 20 months,” Kahele said. “I’m not surprised by the result that we’ve seen tonight.”
Kahele will be the third Native Hawaiian to serve in Congress.
Congressman Ed Case also had a cake walk of an election night on Saturday. He was running unopposed in the Democratic primary for re-election.