In Hawaii, Storm-Battered Area Becomes A Kingmaker | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

In Hawaii, Storm-Battered Area Becomes A Kingmaker

Most of Hawaii voted last Saturday in the contentious Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The result? Sen. Brian Schatz appeared to win by a slim 1,635-vote advantage over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

But there was a complication.

Two precincts on the Big Island's far eastern tip were unable to vote due to damage from Tropical Storm Iselle. Since those precincts could provide the margin of victory in such a razor-close race, voters in the Puna area will settle the election Friday when they cast their ballots.

The kingmaking role is an unlikely one for Puna. It's a place where you can still snag a reasonable deal on a beach house — both because of its remoteness and because of the threat of creeping lava flows and earthquakes. But it's located far from the Honolulu metropolitan area on Oahu, home to more than two-thirds of Hawaii voters, and residents often feel overlooked.

Friday's vote almost didn't happen: Hanabusa filed an injunction Wednesday against the Hawaii Elections Office in a bid to postpone it, citing the difficulties of holding an election in a recovering community just a week after the storm. But a Hawaii court rejected Hanabusa's effort to delay the vote.

In any case, the electoral math is working against Hanabusa. The two precincts that will vote Friday are home to 8,255 registered voters — some of whom mailed in their ballots before the official Aug. 9 primary. That means Hanabusa will likely need to win about two-thirds of the uncounted votes to overcome her current shortfall against Schatz, the senator appointed in December 2012 after the death of Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye.

As Hawaii News Now noted, Puna's other two precincts, which were able to vote on Aug. 9, went narrowly for Schatz.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

From Early Failures To New 'Trainwreck,' Judd Apatow Gets Serious

It's an understatement to call the man busy. With a new book out, a movie due soon and another wrapping up on set, Apatow caught a breath and reflected on stumbling blocks, Freaks and Amy Schumer.
NPR

What To Do With Weird Farmers Market Vegetables

The farmer's market in July is a wondrous place: juicy tomatoes, jewel-toned eggplants, sweet yellow corn. But greens that look like weeds may be more intimidating. Here's how to tame them.
NPR

Kerry: Iran Faces 'Hard Choices' To Reach Nuclear Deal With West

The secretary of state, who has been in talks in Vienna for the past several days, says an agreement could be done "quickly" if Tehran is prepared to compromise.
NPR

Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.