U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said Tuesday she will not file a legal challenge of her Democratic primary loss to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz for the seat once held by the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.
Hanabusa lost to Schatz by 1,769 votes in a race with the outcome delayed for almost a week as the state Office of Elections allowed a makeup vote in two Puna precincts where polls were closed during the primary because of damage from Tropical Storm Iselle.
The state also discovered about 800 previously uncounted absentee ballots on Maui.
In a written statement, Hanabusa thanked her supporters and volunteers, saying she was “humbled and inspired” by their support.
“Though I will not be challenging the results of this election, I remain very concerned about the public’s confidence and trust in our election process,” she said. “I ask former colleagues and friends in the Hawaii State Legislature to explore what is necessary to ensure the people that their vote truly counts. I heard from many who feel strongly that they were disenfranchised from the voting process this election and I stand ready to support any collaborative effort to have those voices heard.”
She had until Thursday to file a challenge.
Hanabusa, who lost a court bid to stop the makeup election prior to it being held Friday, said it was time to “finish my work in the Congress and reflect on the last 16 years of my life in public office.”
Schatz released his own statement in response to Hanabusa’s announcement.
“This election has been extraordinary from beginning to end. It took heart, teamwork and a belief that together we are making a real difference for our state and our country,” he said.
“I want to congratulate Congresswoman Hanabusa on waging a spirited and tough battle. Now it is time for us to unite as we move forward to the general election.”
Schatz will face former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, a Republican, and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, an Independent, in the November General Election.
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