Lingle rides groundswell
Gov. Linda Lingle won a historic victory to become the first Republican and woman in Hawaii to win re-election for the governorship.
A fourth printout at 6:04 a.m. today showed Lingle far ahead of Democratic opponent Randy Iwase, an underfunded former state senator and city councilman.
Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona were ahead of Iwase and his running mate, Malama Solomon, in every county. But the 53-year-old former Maui mayor's strongest support came from Oahu, where she was ahead more than 2-to-1.
Just before 10 p.m., Iwase thanked his supporters, noting that he had no paid campaign workers, only volunteers. Minutes earlier, Lingle told her supporters at the Dole Cannery ballroom that Iwase and Solomon called her and conceded. "We wish them well," she said.
Democratic Party Chairman Mike McCartney said the campaign had been a good one. "I want to congratulate Gov. Lingle. We will work with her and we look forward to a constructive working relationship," McCartney said.
Democrats' attempts to tie Lingle to Republican President Bush did not have much effect, Lingle said.
"People didn't judge me on that basis, and I am thankful," Lingle said.
Lingle said she hopes to spend the next four years improving funding for public schools, working on alternative energy programs and reducing state taxes.
At Lingle's campaign party, Kay Ahina, a supervisor for the 400 volunteers who worked the campaign phone banks, said she was a Democrat who became a Republican because of Lingle.
"My dad was a Democrat, but I think he would be proud that now we have a two-party system," Ahina said.
At Iwase's campaign party at the Disabled American Veterans Hall, Mario Ramil said the Iwase campaign had a tough time.
"Nine months ago, nobody gave us a snowball's chance," said Ramil, a former state Supreme Court justice and former deputy attorney general who had worked with Iwase 20 years ago.
Iwase said he now has no plans for another race.
The Iwase party showed the heavy union support that he needed to get his message out. He could raise only 5 percent of what Lingle collected -- $330,000 to Lingle's $6.5 million.
Union representatives from the ILWU were at Iwase's party, and the Hawaii State Teachers Association helped serve food for the 170 party-goers after spending much of the campaign working for him.
Earlier this week, Lingle had said she knew she would be opposed by many labor unions and she had to supplement their supporters by raising more money. "We drew up an ambitious budget early on and we stayed with it because we knew we would need the money," Lingle said.
Star-Bulletin reporters Diana Leone and Mary Adamski contributed to this report.