Hawaii US Senate primary goes into extra time

Baseball games go into extra innings. Football can go to overtime. Golf tournaments can have playoffs. Even some states have runoffs. But when was the last time you remember an election result staying in limbo while the candidates wait for some voters to cast ballots at a later time to be determined?

Welcome to the Democratic primary in the U.S. Senate race in Hawaii.

If you take a quick look at the results, it seems like Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) is headed for a narrow win, as he leads Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) by 1635 votes with 99% of precincts reporting.

But, those two precincts - home to more than 8,000 Democratic voters on the Big Island of Hawaii - will be given extra time to vote because of storm damage and delays from Tropical Storm Iselle.

"It is far from over," Hanabusa told her supporters.

"I can assure you we will get this election completed in record time," said Gov. Neal Abercrombie (D), who was bounced out of office in the Saturday primary by a whopping margin of 67-31 percent.

Here's more from the Associated Press:

HONOLULU — Hawaii's Democratic Unity Breakfast the morning after the primary election is traditionally a time for candidates to set aside their differences and coalesce against the Republican candidates they will face in November. But the Sunday's festivities were awkward this year after the primary left the top-ticket U.S. Senate race undecided and the sitting governor was trounced by his Democratic opponent.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, the Senate candidates who are separated by only a slim vote margin, largely ignored one another as they sat at neighboring tables until they were finally forced to acknowledge each other with a hug in between their speeches to about 200 party faithful.

"This really is an extraordinary moment in Democratic Party politics for so many reasons," Schatz said. "Colleen and I, in a very particular way, are not 'pau,'" he said, using the Hawaiian word for done.

Hanabusa asked, "Where else would you have a situation like this? I mean, look at this election. Two hurricanes, we were down to the wire."

As Democrats shifted their focus to defeating Republicans in November, the focus of the U.S. Senate race shifts to a remote region on the Big Island known as Puna, where up to 8,255 registered voters will be mailed ballots in the next few days.

In an unprecedented move, elections officials postponed voting in two precincts after Tropical Storm Iselle hit the state this week, damaging roads and downing trees on the Big Island. Exactly how the election will proceed was unclear to candidates Sunday morning. The state faces a 21-day legal deadline.

"As long as civil defense deems the roads passable, they can start campaigning today," said Stephanie Ohigashi, chairwoman of Hawaii's Democratic Party. It will be a challenge to campaign in the rugged volcanic region, where many homesteaders are without water and power, she said.

"People are going to learn a lot about that part of the state," said former Gov. John Waihee. "It's made up of a lot of people who are very independent ... they like being country. They like where they live."

The two Senate candidates were praising Big Island voters Sunday, with both candidates planning to fly there to continue their campaigns. Hanabusa's team planned to head to the island later Sunday, said her spokesman, Peter Boylan. Schatz also planned to go.

"I'm a grassroots guy," he said in an interview. "I started my career walking house to house, wearing out several pairs of shoes, so I'm comfortable communicating to voters directly."

The next primaries for Congress on Tuesday are in Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin.