Politics

Kahele Wins Hawaii Democratic Primary for Gabbards Seat

HONOLULU—Kai Kahele was prepared to do the unthinkable: take on an incumbent from his own party for a U.S. House seat.

He felt so strongly that Hawaii residents were being hurt by the presidential ambitions of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard that he announced early on he would challenge his fellow Democrat.

Then, just months after Kahele got in the race, Gabbard announced she wouldnt seek re-election to the House seat she had held since 2013 and would instead focus on her campaign for the White House.

Epoch Times Photo
In this Feb. 8, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) speaks during the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner in Manchester, N.H. Kai Kahele is favored to win the Democratic Partys nomination to represent Hawaiis 2nd Congressional District in the primary election. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Kaheles bold move paved the way for him to claim an easy victory Saturday in the Democratic primary for Hawaiis 2nd Congressional District.

The 46-year-old said its been a long journey since he launched his campaign in January 2019 and its exciting to get to this point.

“Im looking forward to hitting the campaign trail again and marching to the general,” Kahele said in an interview.

Kahele had such an advantage over his competitors that he spent the past four months on active duty in the Hawaii National Guard helping the state respond to the coronavirus pandemic. He was not able to conduct any campaign activities during that time.

“At times its been challenging because I wanted to be involved. We put so much time and effort into the campaign before I left. But at the same time, I was confident in the team that I had built and we had built together,” Kahele said.

Kahele has served in the state Senate since 2016, starting from when he was appointed to fill the remainder of his fathers term after he died. He was elected for the first time later that year.

He works as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines and flies C-17 jets as a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard. Hes married to a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant and has three daughters.

Kahele is an advocate of “Medicare for All” and supports the idea of a “Green New Deal” to address climate change and help Hawaii meet its clean energy goals.

Joe Akana won the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District, which covers suburban Honolulu and Hawaiis more rural islands, over eight other GOP challengers. Kahele is the overwhelming favorite to win the seat in November in heavily Democratic Hawaii.

A win by either Akana or Kahele would give Hawaii its second Native Hawaiian in Congress since statehood. The first was the late Sen. Daniel Akaka, who left office in 2013.

With Saturdays election, Hawaii becomes the fifth state to conduct an election entirely by mail after the state enacted a vote-by-mail law last year. Hawaii joins Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Utah in holding all-mail elections. In Hawaii, voters have also had the option to cast ballots in-person at a handful voterRead More From Source