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Hawaii's Hurricane Primaries

The latest storm won't affect Saturday's voting, but the last one did.

In this Saturday, April 28, 2018, photo, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, talks with a guest at an event held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, in Honolulu. Hanabusa is running for governor.
AP Photo/Marco Garcia
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Kyle Trygstad
Aug. 9, 2018, 9:15 a.m.

The threat of Hurricane Hector in Hawaii this week likely invited back some bad memories for Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is challenging Gov. David Ige in Saturday’s Democratic primary.

When the congresswoman came up short in her 2014 challenge to a different incumbent, Sen. Brian Schatz, the contenders had spent the final days of that race balancing their official duty of storm preparation for Hurricane Iselle with doing what they could to get out the vote.

Hanabusa, who canceled sign-waving events and asked supporters to take down her signs because of the high winds, emerged from primary day trailing by 1,635 votes in a race too close to call—with two precincts on the Big Island forced to postpone their vote because of the storm. Hanabusa’s ensuing lawsuit to give the 8,000 voters there even more time to cast ballots failed, and Schatz’s winning margin increased slightly a week later when all the votes came in.

With Hector passing safely south of the islands Wednesday, Hanabusa’s top concern should be that former state Sen. Clayton Hee’s exit from the race two months ago coincided with an Ige resurgence in public polling rather than a boost for her.

-- Kyle Trygstad

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