After decisive win in governor’s race, Green pledges to push forward ‘optimistic vision’ for Hawaii
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lt. Gov. Josh Green captured a decisive win Tuesday against Republican James “Duke” Aiona to become Hawaii’s next governor at a time when the state is facing no shortage of challenges, from rising inflation in the nation’s most expensive state to a worsening housing crisis and a lackluster tourism rebound.
“Thank you guys for getting us to this finish line for Hawaii!” Green told his supporters Tuesday night.
And to voters, he pledged to carry through on an “optimistic vision for our state.”
“We will take on the problems that have seemed too difficult to solve,” he said. “Our administration will face the biggest problems in Hawaii. Tonight is about hope.”
Green, who won by a 2-to-1 margin, was the decided frontrunner heading into the final hours of voting.
Following Green’s victory speech, Aiona thanked his supporters.
“We just appreciate all of you. The results are one thing, but it’s the relationships that we have forged in this campaign that matter,” he said.
Ahead of Election Day, Aiona urged voters not to count him out.
“The people are really, really disturbed ... and they want change,” Aiona told Hawaii News Now, before the polls closed. “A lot of Democrats are whispering, ‘I voted for you. I voted for you.’”
Still, toppling Green was always a longshot.
And the first results released just after 8 p.m. made that very clear: With most votes counted, more than 66% of Hawaii voters put their support behind Green and his running mate, Sylvia Luke.
The win came on the heels of a landslide victory for Green in the primary election, besting opponents Vicky Cayetano and Kai Kahele ― the latest milestone in Green’s near 20-year tenure in Hawaii’s political scene.
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Luke also fought her way out of a contentious field ― despite Super PAC money fueling attack ads. Some of those ads came from the Carpenters Union, which supports her partner on the ticket.
Green says they’ve addressed the situation and are ready to move forward.
On the Republican side, it’s also been a whirlwind election for Aiona.
The Republican entered the race at the last minute, filing his papers just under the June 7 deadline.
While Aiona’s campaign may have been brief, he went into Election Day feeling much more confident compared to previous years he’s run for the office. This election marked the third time Duke Aiona has run for governor.
He said part of what motivated him to throw his hat in the ring again is the recent spate of public corruption scandals. Aiona says the energy surrounding this election season is reminiscent to the atmostphere 20 years ago.
“People are disgusted.”
Aiona is no stranger to the gubernatorial campaign trail. In 2010, he lost a bid to Neil Abercrombie. Aiona secured the Republican nomination for a second time in 2014 ― running against David Ige.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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