HONOLULU — State Sen. David Ige defeated Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary, becoming Hawaii’s first Democratic gubernatorial candidate to unseat an incumbent.
Ige addressed over 400 supporters at his campaign’s Varsity Building headquarters with his wife, Dawn, and their three children, Lauren, Amy and Matthew, by his side. As of the final printout, Ige had 66 percent of the vote to Abercrombie’s 30.9 percent, 143,835 to 67,368.
“Together, we have made history,” Ige proclaimed to a cheering crowd. “People told me I was crazy for giving up my seat in the state Senate, but I knew we needed change. They reminded me that no incumbent governor had ever lost a primary election. That changed tonight.”
Ige’s grassroots campaign began exactly 13 months earlier and managed to build momentum and support despite being outspent $5 million to $500,000 by his opponent. He has traveled across the state, from island to island, speaking directly with the people of Hawaii on the issues that matter most to them.
“The voters of Hawaii have said loud and clear that it’s not money that wins elections,” Ige said. “It’s about grassroots campaigning, meeting voters face-to-face, and above all, listening to what they have to say.”
An electrical engineer from Pearl City, Ige has served 19 years in the Hawaii House of Representatives and nine years in the Senate.
In the November general election, Ige will face Republican Duke Aiona, former lieutenant governor, and independent Mufi Hannemann, former mayor of Honolulu.
Abercrombie said in a statement, “Today, I begin the final chapter of a 40-year career of service to the people of Hawaii. I couldn’t possibly be more appreciative of the faith and support you’ve given me.
“I have no regrets simply because every waking breath has been for you, Hawaii. I have given all that I could, every day that I could.
“To my campaign team and my administration, I wish to say ‘mahalo.’ To David Ige, our Democratic nominee for governor, I say ‘imua.’ I am behind your candidacy with every ounce of energy I possess.
“I remain forever grateful for the opportunity to have served all of you. I look forward to working to elect a new Democratic governor, David Ige.”
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said in a statement, “Thank you to all the Democratic candidates for running and committing to public service. We’ve had our hard-fought primaries and we’ve aired our disagreements. But there’s one thing we all agree on: Our commitment to the right priorities for Hawaii’s families. That means everything from making college more affordable and keeping Social Security and Medicare strong for our kupuna to supporting alternative and renewable energy and protecting women’s reproductive rights. From today, we will come together and help make sure our Democratic candidates win in November!”