HONOLULU (AP) — Voters in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District elected a new U.S. representative Tuesday after the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele, decided not to seek re-election.
Democrat Jill Tokuda defated Republican Joe Akana in the district covering rural Oahu and the rest of the Hawaiian Islands.
Tokuda thanked a cheering crowd at a post-election celebration for their support and their work to win over voters by by knocking on doors, making phone calls and waving at cars while holding signs.
“We reminded them at the end of the day it was always about them, the people of Hawaii,” she said. “Our kids – making sure that they would be able to have a future and a home here in this place that we love.”
In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Case will be sent back to Washington to represent urban Honolulu for another two-year term. He defeated Republican Conrad Kress.
Case celebrated Democratic wins in Hawaii as well as strong results for the party nationally.
“Because our message is better. Because we represent all of the people. Because we defend democracy, because we defend the rights of people. Because we care about everybody, because we are inclusive, because we do not operate special interests, because all the things that we have taken to heart here in Hawaii,” Case said to the crowd at a Democratic Party celebration.
Hawaii has two seats in the U.S. House.
A look at the races:
Tokuda on Tuesday defeated Republican Joe Akana to become the new congressperson for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers rural Oahu and the rest of the state.
Tokuda served in the state Senate for 12 years, where she was chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee.
Tokuda is also a small business owner and has served as the external affairs director for the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center on Maui.
Akana is a businessman and former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst.
Tokuda had been heavily favored to win in the Democratic stronghold.
Tokuda replaces the incumbent, Kahele, who will leave Congress after serving one term. The Hilo native decided to run for governor instead of returning to Washington, but lost to Lt. Gov. Josh Green in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
NAVY SEAL CHALLENGES INCUMBENT
Case, the incumbent, beat former Navy SEAL Conrad Kress, a Republican in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.
Case had been heavily favored to win the seat. The Blue Dog Democrat is in his second stint in Congress.
He initially served from 2002-2007 representing the 2nd Congressional District before he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate. He was first elected to serve Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District in 2019.
Case is co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, an official caucus in the U.S. House for 19 fiscally conservative Democrats. Its website says it’s “dedicated to pursuing fiscally-responsible policies, ensuring a strong national defense for our country, and transcending party lines to get things done for the American people.”
The 1st Congressional District covers urban Honolulu.