Lingle won almost every area in state
Ticket-splitting had Lingle and Akaka winning in same precincts
In precinct after precinct where she had lost in past races, Gov. Linda Lingle this year triumphed over her Democratic opponent.
A review of the 736-page precinct report from the state Elections Office shows that the only areas where Lingle faltered in the Nov. 7 election were Hilo, the Hamakua Coast and a scattering of precincts on Kauai and Maui.
The rest of the state was solidly for the Republican governor.
Lingle won re-election with 62 percent of the total vote to Randy Iwase's 35 percent.
In Republican areas such as Hahaione and Kahala, Lingle won with upward of 78 percent of the vote. And in most Democratic areas, Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona beat Iwase and Malama Solomon, sometimes by just a few votes.
"My district is predominantly Democratic," said Hilo Sen. Lorraine Inouye, a former Big Island mayor and veteran Democratic politician. "Look at the Keakaha area. It is Hawaiian Homes and Caucasian. She trounced Iwase. And it shows that they didn't vote for Malama just because she is Hawaiian."
Looking back over past races, Inouye said it appears Lingle benefits from the perception of good job performance and the state's changing demographics.
"If you look at the areas that Mazie (Hirono, the Democrat whom Lingle beat in 2002) won in the past, it shows that the island is changing. There are more active residents, Caucasians and newcomers," Inouye said.
Lingle's campaign marched across Maui, winning areas such as the Waihee Elementary School precinct, where she received 307 votes to Iwase's 128. Lingle won Kula, while Iwase won three precincts near Hana.
Lingle, however, won the Hana High School, Lanai and Molokai precincts. At the former Hansen's disease treatment peninsula of Kalaupapa, Lingle won 17 to 12.
On Oahu, Lingle dominated in the GOP stronghold of East Honolulu, where she also won in 2002 and in 1998, when she unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Ben Cayetano.
But at the same time Republican Lingle was winning handily this year, Democratic standard-bearer U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka also was topping out in almost every precinct, easily beating Republican state Rep. Cynthia Thielen.
"It looks like there was a lot of ticket-splitting going on," said Republican state Rep. Barbara Marumoto, who won over her Democratic opponent, attorney Mike Abe. "My district (Kalani Valley-Diamond Head) is actually mostly Democrats," Marumoto said. "For instance, two years ago, the entire district except for two precincts went for (presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John) Kerry."
Lingle even won in the Kaimuki High School precinct, 133 to 77, although Iwase had launched his campaign from that campus earlier this year.
The ticket-splitting trend continued across Oahu, as the usually reliable Democratic district of Manoa went for both Lingle and Akaka.
Four years ago, Lingle performed poorly in the strong Democratic areas of Kalihi and Pearl City. This year, however, Lingle won, including in such strong Democratic precincts such as Kalihi Waena and Farrington High School.
Lingle held a huge advantage in the amount of money her campaign raised. Iwase had only 5 percent of the funds that Lingle had, $330,000 compared to her $6.5 million. Lingle argued that Iwase enjoyed a big advantage with support from organized labor, but on Election Day, there was no indication that labor was able to deliver.
"Because of a lack of money, Iwase and Solomon were unable to get their name and their positions out there," said incoming Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua).
Although four years ago Democrat Hirono won the Leeward districts from Nanakuli to Kaena Point, Lingle this time won them all.
"The biggest reason is the work done by Micah Kane and the Hawaiian Home Lands Department," Hanabusa said. Kane is the department's director and is the former executive director of the state GOP.
"The area is predominately native Hawaiian, but I don't think it is an ethnic vote, it is an issue of name recognition and a voter's familiarity with a candidate," Hanabusa said.
Displacing any incumbent is difficult, she noted.
"To vote for the alternative, you have to first have the feeling that the person who is in office is someone you don't want and then the voter has to say, 'I prefer you,'" Hanabusa said.