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"We did the best we could," Kawamoto said.
Kawamoto (D, Waipahu), 64, has served in the Senate since 1994.
Controversy has followed Kawamoto's career.
The former Vietnam War jet fighter pilot was investigated by the state Campaign Spending Commission for using his six-figure campaign fund to support athletic and community groups in his district, which was not allowed according to campaign laws.
Kawamoto paid a fine, but Nishihara focused on Kawamoto's campaign spending violation.
"We had no real great expectations," Nishihara said. "We felt we were moving in a positive direction," Nishihara said.
Sen. Melodie Aduja (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe), 44, an attorney, found her campaign entangled in controversy.
Her former husband, Lee Williams, who was a key member of her 2002 campaign, was arrested in a drug sweep in Chinatown. Reviews of Aduja's campaign spending reports showed that a large number of checks had been written to Williams. Campaign Spending Commission Executive Director Bob Watada called portions of the report "pure fiction." She was fined $9,000.
Both Hee and Nishihara say they won by stressing a clean government campaign.
"I want to give Bob Watada more flexibility and a bigger staff and more resources," Hee said.
Nishihara said he wanted to "stop the old boy politics."
"I want more open and honest government," Nishihara said.
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