FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Barack Obama supporters gathered last night at E&O Trading Co. to watch election results. They included university students Bryan Whiter, right, and Sharon Bowers, next to him.
Close campaign keeps candidates’ island supporters excited
The nail-biting for supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton ended yesterday with a decisive win in Ohio and a narrower victory in the Texas primary.
Although Sen. Barack Obama, by a complicated formula, could end up winning more delegates in Texas than Clinton, Clinton's Hawaii chairwoman, state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, said there was no question she would remain in the presidential race.
"Neither candidate can win on the delegate count now," Hanabusa said. "To me, her very strong showing in Ohio evidences the fact that I think that she can go on and she will go on in this contest."
Earlier last night, Hanabusa said, "We thought she would do well in the primary states." She noted, however, that Texas is an anomaly, with both caucus and primary voting.
"Our position has always been that this is going to the Democratic National Convention and it's always going to come down to delegates," she said. "We just have to wait and see, but we are very optimistic given her very strong showing."
Although Clinton supporters in Hawaii found cause for celebration, Hanabusa said "you can't be from here and not feel a sense of pride" for Hawaii-born Obama, who remains ahead in total delegates.
While Obama won handily on Vermont, Clinton also took Rhode Island. The results did not dishearten the Obama camp.
"It does not appear to fundamentally alter the race," said state Rep. Brian Schatz, representing the Obama campaign in the islands. "We've had a really exciting race between two extraordinary candidates, and it doesn't appear that it will be over any time soon."
A spirited primary battle, rather than helping the Republican nominee, is "very good for the Democrats," Schatz said. "I think what we're seeing on the Democratic side is unprecedented turnout and enthusiasm and fundraising. You only get that kind of excitement when there's a contest."
On the Republican side, supporters of Sen. John McCain could finally celebrate his clinching of the nomination after he won more than the needed 1,191 delegates.
"This is a continuation of the momentum that will sweep the senator into the White House," said state Rep. Gene Ward, co-chairman of the McCain campaign in Hawaii.
Ward said it doesn't matter who wins the Democratic nomination.
"Whether it be Hillary or Obama, we are prepared."