08/13/2014 10:41 am ET Updated Aug 13, 2014

Colleen Hanabusa Threatens To Sue To Stop Friday's Special Election In Hawaii Senate Race


Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) may take legal action to stop Friday's special election to decide Hawaii's Democratic Senate primary, arguing that it's too soon for two storm-ravaged precincts to get out and vote.

Hanabusa is challenging Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and the winner is expected to be the victor in November as well, given the state's strong Democratic makeup. The state held its primary elections Saturday, but because of a tropical storm that swept through, voting was canceled in two precincts in the district of Puna. Schatz currently has a 1,635-vote lead.

On Monday, Hawaii's Office of Elections announced that voters in the two affected precincts will get a chance to vote in person Friday, which is a state holiday. According to Honolulu Civil Beat, the results will be announced that same evening.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hanabusa wants to delay the election until residents can fully recover from the tropical storm. She would also like to give voters in two other Puna precincts the chance to vote Friday, and may go to court to do so.

"We're going to have to file something in court, because I feel that what's going on is really disenfranchising a lot of people," said Hanabusa, who told the paper she is still discussing her legal strategy.

Schatz appears to have an edge in the two precincts that didn't get to vote Saturday. An analysis by Hawaii News Now found that 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."

The race between Hanabusa and Schatz has been heated, with Hanabusa arguing that she is the one best able to carry on the legacy of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Schatz arguing that he is the most progressive candidate in the race.

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