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Hawaiʻi's Democratic, Republican parties regroup following primary election

unity breakfast.jpg Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi josh green sylvia luke
Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi
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Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi unity breakfast on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. In the bottom row, five from the left: U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, U.S. Rep. Ed Case, Hawaiʻi Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani, Congressional District 2 candidate Jill Tokuda, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Josh Green, and Sylvia Luke, candidate for lieutenant governor and the current Hawaiʻi House finance chair.

Celebrating wins and tough losses, both the Hawaiʻi Democratic Party and Republican Party held traditional unity breakfasts Sunday, following Saturday’s primary election.

A unity breakfast signifies a coming together in support of candidate tickets for the general election.

It’s also a call to action.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green claimed the Democratic nomination for governor on Saturday, with more than 61% of party votes. He joins Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee Sylvia Luke to face Republicans Duke Aiona and Seaula Tupaʻi.

At Sunday’s Democratic Unity Breakfast, Green reminded fellow party members it takes partnership across the federal, state and county levels to get things done.

"We have to do these things but there's only one way and we have to do it together," Green said. "There's no way if we're not all together we can't do these things. So though COVID laid us bare, let's commit to putting aside all of our differences and rivalries for the good of Hawaiʻi's people."

Green outpaced business owner Vicky Cayetano and Congressman Kai Kahele, whose seat for Congressional District 2 will be contested by Republican Joe Akana and Democrat Jill Tokuda.

"It's not about us that at the end of the day," Tokuda said. "We were fighting hard in the streets, on every single corner on every single island in every community, because we were fighting for something so much bigger. Bigger than ourselves. And that's what this difficult, raw, very emotional moment for all of us is about, is the fact that no matter which camp we came from, no matter where we fell on the ballot, today, when the printouts were had, it was about the people of this state."

Despite wide margins of victory for several candidates on Saturday, turnout plummeted across the state.

State Chief Election Officer Scott Nago says it’s hard to pinpoint why fewer people voted.

"All elections are unique," Nago said. "It could be the fact it's a different set of contests. Voters have different reasons to vote this year. I mean, last year, we're in the middle of a pandemic, there was a shutdown, we couldn't leave. It's just each election is unique. It's really hard to say what causes or what makes voters vote."

Mail-in ballots for the November mid-term elections are expected to reach voters by Oct. 21.

Sabrina Bodon is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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