Puna voters give edge to Schatz in close race with Hanabusa

Puna voters give edge to Schatz in close race with Hanabusa
Published: Aug. 10, 2014 at 9:19 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii News Now analysis of precinct results in the U.S. Senate race showed that U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz holds an edge over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Puna area of Hawaii island where voters in two precincts still must cast their votes to decide the razor-thin contest.

Schatz leads Hanabusa by 1,635 votes, a margin of less than one percent.

The state Office of Elections decided to delay voting in two precincts because of Friday's storm. About 8,255 voters are registered at the two delayed polling places: Hawaiian Paradise Community Center and Keonepoko Elementary School in Puna.

Any of them who did not vote early by mail or in person will be sent a ballot by mail in a process that state law requires must be completed within 21 days of the primary. A schedule and other details have not been finalized by election officials yet. Officials have also not released the number of early walk-in and mail-in votes that have already been cast in the two districts.  Those early votes have not been counted, elections officials said.

A majority of the Puna residents who voted at the two remaining precincts in Puna's district 4 Saturday supported Schatz, with 739 votes or 55 percent compared to 45 percent of the 603 votes cast for Hanabusa. About 56 percent of the voters in those two precincts – at Pahoa Community Center and Pahoa High and Intermediate School -- voted before Election Day, results released early Sunday showed.

Hawaii News Now's analysis revealed Hanabusa will need to pick up about 65 percent of the remaining votes in those outstanding Puna precincts to beat Schatz. And she was not able to do that anywhere in the state, even in her old State Senate district along Oahu's Leeward Coast.

Hanabusa did best there, in the Kalaeloa-Ko Olina area on Oahu, winning 63 percent of the vote and getting 62 percent of votes in the Waianae-Makaha district.

Hanabusa also did well in Waipahu, garnering 60 percent and South Hilo-Waiakea with 59 percent.

Schatz's best district was Waikiki-Ala Moana with 65 percent of the vote, followed by Kailua and Mokapu with 64 percent , then Makena and Wailea on Maui where he won 62 percent and North Kona-Kohala, where Schatz took 60 percent of votes cast.

Hanabusa won a majority of the state's 51 State House districts, taking 27 of them, while Schatz won the remaining 24. But his margins were slightly higher in some areas and that's why he's ahead by 1,635 votes.

The voting results show some outright ties and razor-thin differences between the two candidates.

For instance, just one vote separated Hanabusa ahead of Schatz at the precinct at Kaimuki High School Saturday, where the vote was 180 to 179.

Early mail-in votes for people is Waikele Elementary School came in tied – at 233 votes for each candidate.

It was the same story on Kauai, where absentee early walk-in voting was split at Kalaheo Community Center, since Schatz and Hanabusa each garnered 147 votes.

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