Hawaii’s Ige staves off challenge, will face GOP’s Tupola in November

Hawaii Gov. David Ige greets supporters at his campaign headquarters, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in Honolulu.

By Amy Lieu | Fox News

Hawaii Gov. David Ige won the state’s Democratic primary Saturday in his bid for a second term, overcoming sharp criticism after a false missile alert in January.

Ige defeated U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who gave up her seat in Congress to run for governor.

“I just got off the phone with Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, and she wished us congratulations and more importantly, she pledged her support to make sure that we can elect a Democratic governor,” Ige said in a victory speech after Hanabusa conceded, according to a Hawaii News Now tweet.

The incumbent in November will face state Rep. Andria Tupola, who won the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Tuopla defeated former state Sen. John Carroll for the party’s nod.

“Once you step into the general, then it’s any man’s game,” Tupola said. “It’s not a party thing, it’s look at the best candidate and make your best vote.”

Tupola told Hawaii News Now that her goal “at the end of the day is to serve the people.”

Ige faced a tough primary challenge after a 38-minute delayed response to Hawaii’s false missile alert. The incident was expected to loom large on voter’s minds Saturday.

Officials mistakenly sent an a warning of an imminent missile attack, promising “THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” to cellphones, radios and televisions on Jan. 13.

Hanabusa used the false alarm as a key campaign cudgel against Ige.

But the governor’s handling of the Kilauea volcano’s latest eruption, which destroyed more than 700 homes and displaced thousands, as well as devastating flooding on Kauai, may have improved his stature.

“The most important thing about the election is the fact that we gave people choices, and the people have spoken,” said Hanabusa during her concession speech. “It was about giving people the choice.”

U.S. House primaries

In the state’s U.S. House primaries, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has won the Democratic nomination in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District.

Gabbard will face singer Brian Evans of Maui in the general election in November. He ran unopposed for the Republican Party’s nomination.

In the 1st District, former U.S. Rep. Ed Case defeated Lt. Gov. Doug Chin in the Democratic race, while candidate Cam Cavasso was leading opponent Raymond Rene Vinole by a large margin on the Republican side.

“I think voters want Washington to work again, that’s the number one issue,” said Case. “I was clearly saying we need to fix Washington and we need to work together, and that message clearly resonated with many voters.”

Gabbard defeated Sherry Alu Campagna to be her party’s candidate to represent rural Oahu and the neighbor islands in Congress.

Campagna had criticized Gabbard for refusing to debate her, noting that Gabbard had argued in the past that candidates should participate in debates to present their positions and be held accountable for their opinions.

Gabbard was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012. She is one of the first female combat veterans to serve in Congress. She deployed to Iraq and Kuwait with the Hawaii National Guard.

Other races

In Hawaii’s U.S. Senate races, Democratic incumbent Maize Hirono was running unopposed in her primary, while Ron Curtis won the Republican nod.

Hirono was first elected to the Senate in 2012. She’s the country’s first Asian-American female senator.

Curtis faces an uphill battle. The winner of the Democratic primary is almost guaranteed to win in the general election in Hawaii.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Democrat Josh Green is leading in the polls by a few percentage points, while Republican Steve Lipscomb leads by a small margin.

The winners of most of the Democratic Party’s primary races will be the favorites to win the general election in November.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report. 

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