Hawaii Governor Loses Democratic Primary Despite Obama Endorsement

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama endorsed him, but incumbent Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie lost his Democratic primary to a challenger Saturday.

Abercrombie, a longtime Democratic officeholder in the state, was ousted by state Sen. David Ige. That makes Abercrombie the first incumbent governor in Hawaii history to lose his primary.

Ige handily defeated the sitting governor, winning 67 percent to Abercrombie’s 32 percent of the vote.

Last year, Obama, who was born in Hawaii, endorsed the governor’s re-election.

“I’ve known Governor Abercrombie for decades,” Obama said at the time, “and I’ve come to appreciate him not only as a friend, but as an extraordinary public servant who has never let politics get in the way of serving the people of Hawai‘i.”

Added Obama: “I firmly believe that Neil deserves a second term as governor, and I look forward to continuing to work with him for years to come.”

In a post on Twitter after his loss, Abercrombie wrote: “No regret. Every waking breath has been for you, Hawai‘i. I have given all I can every day I can.”

As of Sunday morning, the hotly contested Democratic Senate primary between Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was still too close to call. With 99 percent of votes in, Schatz, who Obama endorsed in the race, led with 1,786 votes, according to the Associated Press.

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