HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige on Tuesday won re-election to a second term after defeating Republican state Rep. Andria Tupola as the Democratic Party continued to dominate Hawaii politics.
Democrats also swept the three contests for Congress, including U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono who defeated Republican Ron Curtis to win a second term.
Ige told supporters after his win that he was proud to stand up to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party that was “taking our country in the wrong direction.” He thanked all those who worked on his campaign with him.
“It’s proof again that when we work together, we can do great things,” Ige said to loud cheers.
Andria Tupola conceded the race but told supporters she wasn’t done leading.
She asked supporters to look at the children in the room as she vowed to continue to address Hawaii’s high housing costs, a top issue in her campaign.
“Do you think they’re going to be able to afford to live here?” Tupola said. She called on her supporters to work even harder with her the next time.
Brittany Jeffers of Honolulu said Ige deserves more time in office to finish what he needs to get done.
“I think Ige just needs another term. I think he’s a good governor,” said Jeffers, a 29-year-old property manager.
She was also worried Tupola wouldn’t stand up to Republicans on the national level on issues like immigration, ensuring people with pre-existing conditions can obtain health insurance and abortion.
“I got the sense that she was going to roll over for the GOP,” Jeffers said.
Hawaii voters said the state’s high housing costs were a top issue for them, but many also had President Donald Trump on their minds.
Julie Molloy, a 54-year-old paralegal, said she voted in a midterm election for the first time “to stop Trump.” She voted a straight Democratic ticket.
Robert Hackman said he cast his ballot for Tupola and for Republicans in other races. He said it was a “protest vote” given the odds were so heavily in favor of Democrats winning.
“The state has been ruled too long by one party and they have not done a very good job of their stewardship. So at least I wanted to make a symbolic vote in favor of the two-party system,” said the 69-year-old retiree from Honolulu.
Ige, 61, vowed in his second term to boost affordable housing in a state where half of renters spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing.
He touted his record of promoting affordable housing, boosting teacher pay and installing air conditioning in over 1,000 public school classrooms.
The governor highlighted his opposition to President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens of several Muslim-majority countries, after Hawaii, under his administration’s lead, filed a lawsuit to challenge the policy.
Ige is an electrical engineer who served in the state Legislature from the mid-1980s through 2014, when he ousted incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic Party primary.
Tupola, 37, aimed to become Hawaii’s first Republican governor since Linda Lingle led the state from 2002 to 2010.
She vowed to decrease Hawaii’s homeless rate and boost housing construction by reducing the length of time required to obtain permits. She pledged to cut local taxes and help development projects get capital grants.
The Republican Party is vastly outnumbered in legislative races this year, contesting only five of the 13 state Senate seats and 17 of 51 House seats.
In congressional races, Democratic former U.S. Rep. Ed Case came out of retirement to defeat Cam Cavasso, a Republican former state legislator. The seat is being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who unsuccessfully challenged Ige for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard won re-election to her fourth term in Congress representing rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands. She’s beat a challenge by Republican Brian Evans, a singer and songwriter.