Caldwell wins re-election bid to serve second term as mayor

Web Extra Video: Caldwell wins race for Honolulu mayor
Published: Nov. 8, 2016 at 9:58 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2016 at 4:42 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kirk Caldwell won his re-election bid Tuesday night, prevailing in a hard-fought battle against challenger Charles Djou to serve a second term as Honolulu's mayor.

The final results released Wednesday morning showed that Caldwell won 51 percent of votes cast in the mayoral election. Djou got 47 percent of vote, and the remainder were blank.

Shortly after the third printout of results were released about 10 p.m. Tuesday, Djou conceded the race.

"This fight that we waged was a tough one. We went at the teeth of the machine and we took them. We did this because we believed in this fight for responsible, honest, accountable government," Djou told his supporters. "I am very sorry that tonight I fell short. We gave it our all."

Caldwell addressed his supporters later in the night, telling them that he'd work over the next four years to improve the qualify of life for Hawaii residents.

"We took our message all over this island into every single neighborhood big or small. i think they heard what we were doing, and they want to give us another four years," Caldwell said.

Earlier in the day, both candidates sought to make their final pitch to voters. Caldwell took to the streets in a trolley to ask voters for four more years, while Djou worked the phones and sign waved.

"I'm feeling really good. I don't know if you watched people but a lot of honks, a lot of toots, a lot of thumbs up, very positive feedback," said Caldwell, during a stop in Crane Park in Kaimuki.

"You go all over town now and the response has been the same. It feels good. At the end of the day, that's the only poll that counts."

Interviewed at his Kalihi headquarters, Djou said: "We have a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. We're feeling we're surging right here at the right moment and so we really look forward to the judgment of the voters this evening."

Just 1,500 votes separated the two in the August primary election, though neither secured the majority needed to win outright. Caldwell garnered 44.6 percent of votes cast in the primaries, while Djou captured 43.7 percent of votes

The third candidate in the primary -- Peter Carlisle -- got 15,000 votes. And those Carlisle voters could determine the winner.

Carlisle didn't endorse either Caldwell or Djou.

Throughout the election season, Caldwell has sought to defend his record as mayor, saying he's never shied away from tackling Oahu's major challenges and pointing to efforts to repave roadways and upgrade other critical infrastructure.

But Caldwell is also seeking a second term at a time when Oahu's rail project, the biggest public works endeavor in the state's history, is facing major cost overruns and delays.

Djou has pointed to problems with rail, along with Oahu's homeless crisis, its dearth of affordable housing, and infrastructure issues, as examples of leadership failures in Honolulu Hale.

The former U.S. representative says he'll bring positive change to Oahu as mayor, but has been criticized for failing to offer solutions and for changing his suggested approaches to key issues.

Just four years ago, rail was the issue that helped get Caldwell elected as Honolulu's mayor. Voters chose the staunch rail advocate over his opponent, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, a vocal critic of the rail project.

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