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Brian Schatz Has Edge In Remaining Precincts In Hawaii Senate Race

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ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- The Hawaii Senate race is still too close to call, thanks to a tropical storm that prevented some residents from turning out on Saturday. Although voters in two precincts will now be allowed extra time to vote, it appears that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) will have an uphill climb to beat Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who holds an edge in the overall vote count and in the remaining areas.

Schatz currently has a 1,635-vote lead over Hanabusa out of the more than 230,000 that were cast.

But due to the storm, the state Office of Elections delayed voting at two polling places in the district of Puna -- at the Hawaiian Paradise Community Center and Keonepoko Elementary School. There are about 8,255 registered voters there, although some of them voted early. According to state law, voting must be completed within 21 days, although it's still not clear when the race will be called.

But according to Hawaii News Now, Schatz appears to have the edge in the remaining two precincts as well (emphasis added):

A majority of the Puna residents who voted at the two remaining precincts in Puna's district 4 Saturday supported Schatz, with 739 votes or 55 percent compared to 45 percent of the 603 votes cast for Hanabusa. About 56 percent of the voters in those two precincts -- at Pahoa Community Center and Pahoa High and Intermediate School -- voted before Election Day, results released early Sunday showed.

Hawaii News Now's analysis revealed Hanabusa will need to pick up about 65 percent of the remaining votes in those outstanding Puna precincts to beat Schatz. And she was not able to do that anywhere in the state, even in her old State Senate district along Oahu's Leeward Coast.

Officials have not, however, released the results of the ballots that were cast early in those districts, prior to Election Day.

Hanabusa told supporters Saturday that she's not giving up.

"This election is not over. It is far from over,” she said. "No one's gonna call this election because anything can happen."

The Hawaii Senate primary has been heated, with Schatz touting his progressive credentials in the deep blue state and Hanabusa playing up her ties to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). The "last wish" of the late senator reportedly was for Hanabusa to take his seat. But Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) instead appointed Schatz, who had been his lieutenant governor.

Schatz, meanwhile, picked up endorsements from President Barack Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and progressive groups like MoveOn.org.

Whoever wins the primary is expected to win in November as well.

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