Democrat Neil Abercrombie captured the office of Hawaii governor on Tuesday night, easily beating his Republican oppoent, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona.
Abercrombie and his running mate, Brian Schatz, led Aiona and his running mate, Lynn Finnegan, 58 percent to 41 percent after the second printout that included all but four precincts. The Democrat team had a double-digit lead from the first printout.
ABERCROMBIE/SCHATZ (D)AIONA/FINNEGAN (R)CUNNINGHAM/SPENCE (F)POLLARD/KAMA (N)
In his victory speech, Abercrombie looked forward to a time of unity for Hawaii.
"You see confrontation and conflict all over the mainland. What you see in Hawaii tonight is unity of purpose and unity of people because our diversity defines us and does not divide us. We are united," said Abercrombie.
According to the latest Hawaii state campaign spending reports, Abercrombie raised $4.3 million for the race with more than $600,000 coming in the last week in individual donations over $500.
Abercrombie told the 300 gathered at his victory party at the old CompUSA site on Ala Moana Blvd., "We are all going to be joined together here for the common purpose of embracing change for Hawaii's future."
Just before 10 p.m., minutes after the second printout showed Aiona had lost, Aiona and his running mate Lynn Finnegan took the stage at the Dole Cannery ballroom with their families to concede the race to Abercrombie.
"First of all, I want to thank God for everything that he has blessed us with," Aiona said.
Aiona said he pledged to help bring the islands together.
"I tell you, you were the greatest right here," he told supporters in his tearful concession speech. "I can't tell you how much, how much we love you," he said, his voice choked with emotion. Aiona broke down in tears several times during his speech.
Aiona said he was outspent by Abercombie and didn't want to "Monday morning quarterback" why he lost. He told KITV 4 News he feels he let his campaign down by losing the race.
Finnegan began her speech by saying, "Thank God for being the foundation of this campaign."
"I would have hoped for a better outcome, but that's what we had," she told supporters from the stage.
The Aiona campaign's election night emcee was a deejay from a Honolulu christian radio station. After the printouts showed Aiona trailing significantly, she said, "I am waiting upon the report of the Lord."
The Aiona campaign ran out of food at Dole ballroom before 8:30 p.m., more than an hour before the second printout showed he clearly lost the race. Hundreds of supporters packed the ballroom, which had served as a Republican get-out-the-vote telephone center throughout election day.
Former U.S. representative Abercrombie left Congress in February to focus on his run for governor. He defeated former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the primary.
The win puts a Democrat back in the governor's office after eight years of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle holding the seat.
Abercrombie will be sworn in on Dec. 6.