Challenger Lorraine Inouye ousted incumbent Malama Solomon from the state Senate’s 4th District seat Saturday night in a Democratic primary contest that was a rematch of the 2012 primary election.
Inouye took an early lead in the race, garnering 1,620 votes during early voting, to the 1,246 votes Solomon had, when early voting was tallied. By 9 p.m., Inouye had a commanding lead of nearly 1,000 votes, with about half of the precincts reporting.
She finished the race with 3,993 votes, compared with Solomon’s 2,856 votes.
Inouye said Saturday night she got some guidance from voters while she campaigned.
“A lot of them said they didn’t care about the issues,” she said, adding they instead asked her “just be fair, listen to people, even if you disagree, like you did before.”
Some district voters asked her to run again, she said.
“They just wanted a change,” Inouye said. “We had a lot of good energy. Our campaign felt it as well. It was rather upbeat.”
Inouye previously served in the state Senate and filled a brief term as Hawaii County mayor. At a candidate forum in Waikoloa last month, Inouye highlighted some of the lessons she learned in those positions.
She touted an understanding of the inner workings of government and noted that an elected official’s major responsibilities included listening to the public before making decisions.
Inouye said she would like to work to expand the economy, “preserving the beauty and resources of this island,” as well as increase access to health care. She said she would advocate for more funding and resources for schools, as well as see how she can give school administrators more authority.
In 2012, Solomon squeaked by Inouye with a margin of less than 100 votes.
A handful of Libertarian voters cast ballots in the primary, sending Alain Schiller to the general election to run against Inouye.