GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
U.S. House candidate Ed Case, second from left, and wife Audrey listened yesterday as his father, Jim Case, rendered a blessing at the Case campaign headquarters as they awaited results of the special election to fill the seat of Patsy Mink.
Congress is CasesFormer gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Ed Case realized a longtime dream yesterday by being elected to Congress.
The Democrat says he will rehireSpecial election results
as many of Minks terminated
staffers as possible
By Crystal Kua
"Frankly, it's overwhelming in a way. I'm totally comfortable in my heart, in my mind with the ability to do this job," said Case, at one point wiping tears from his eyes.
"As you can tell, it's quite emotional."
Case, a Democrat, won with 23,576 votes, or 51 percent of the 46,216 votes cast.
Just hours after the results were released, Case, 50, was already facing his first hurdle in office.
He had promised that if elected in the first special election, he would keep Patsy Mink's staff on board at least through the upcoming Jan. 4 special election, which will determine who will serve the next two-year term.
But Case said he has learned that members of Mink's staff, who had been under the supervision of the U.S. House clerk since Mink's death, were notified that their employment was terminated over the weekend, which was a surprise to him.
Case contacted the clerk's office this morning and learned that U.S. House rules call for the automatic termination of Mink's staff just before her replacement is elected.
"My intention is to rehire as many of Mrs. Mink's staff as soon as possible, as I have promised," Case said just before he left for Washington, D.C. today.
He said he will continue to work on his staffing when he meets with the clerk on Wednesday.
Case planned to fly tonight to Washington, D.C., and meet with senior leadership in the U.S. House along with Patsy Mink's Capitol staff.
Results were tallied yesterday from Saturday's special election to fill the remaining five weeks of the late U.S. Rep. Patsy's Mink's current term. Mink died Sept. 28 of viral pneumonia following a bout with chickenpox.
John Mink, the congresswoman's widower, came in second with 16,624 votes, or 36 percent. Case said he reached out to Mink yesterday. Former state lawmaker and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Carroll was next with 1,933 votes.
The remaining 35 candidates each garnered 2 percent or less of the vote. About 13.3 percent of the 347,922 registered voters in the district turned out to vote. The 2nd Congressional District seat represents rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.
Case is not scheduled to be formally sworn in unless Congress, which is not in session, is called back.
Case said, however, that he will have all the responsibilities and duties of the office except for voting.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who represents urban Honolulu in the 1st Congressional District, stopped by Case's campaign headquarters to congratulate him. Abercrombie also said that it is important for the district to have representation for the next few weeks.
"What happens is not necessarily voting on big issues, but taking care of the everyday problems of everyday people who are utterly and totally dependent on your intervention as their representation," Abercrombie said.
"The veterans who have their benefits and aren't sure what they have or whether they're eligible, the people who are having Medicaid problems, those who wonder whether their Social Security questions are going to be answered -- you can't tell them to come back in 30 or 60 or 90 days."
Case spent eight years in the state House before deciding to run for governor. He lost the Democratic nomination by 2,600 votes to Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, but he sees his gubernatorial campaign as one of the key ingredients to his congressional victory.
"It just all fit together. There's no question that had we not been through a long and very intense governor's race, we wouldn't have been here today."
Case, wearing an aloha shirt and leis of orange and red, choked up with emotion when talking about his political mentor, the late Spark Matsunaga, who served in both the U.S. House and Senate. Case worked for Matsunaga.
"There's no doubt in my mind that had Spark not given me that job and not been the kind of boss that he was, I would not be a member of Congress from Hawaii."
Case now faces Matsunaga's son, former lieutenant governor candidate and former state Sen. Matt Matsunaga, in the second special election. Other major candidates include Democratic state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa and Republicans state Reps. Barbara Marumoto and Chris Halford, former state Reps. Bob McDermott and Jim Rath, and former Mayor Frank Fasi. A total of 44 candidates have filed to run.
Case and others say they believe the additional high-profile names will lead to more interest in the race and a higher voter turnout.
But Case has the advantage of being the incumbent in the race, and he also has said that if he is elected in January, he will have the advantage of seniority over those elected to the next term.
Case said he plans to keep his family based in Hawaii when he goes to Washington this month.
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These are the final results of the special election to fill the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink's term.
Special election results
Ed Case (D) 23,576 John F. Mink (D) 16,624 John S. Carroll (R) 1,933 Whitney T. Anderson (R) 942 Mark McNett (N) 449 Kekoa D. Kaapu (D) 269 Richard H. Haake (R) 229 Doug Fairhurst (R) 173 Kimo Kaloi (R) 149 Nick Nikhilananda (G) 136 Solomon Naluai (D) 116 Walter R. Barnes (R) 94 Carolyn M. Golojuch (R) 94 Clifford P. Rhodes (R) 86 Timmy Yuen (R) 85 Joe Conner (R) 83 Joseph Payne (R) 69 Brian G. Cole (D) 67 John L. Baker (D) 66 Michael Gagne (D) 62 Bob Schieve (R) 55 Ron Jacobs (N) 54 Lillian Hong (N) 51 Art P. Reyes (D) 51 John Mayer (N) 47 Jeff Mallan (L) 33 Lawrence Duquesne (L) 32 Steve Tataii (D) 28 G. Goodwin (G) 27 John Parker (N) 27 Bill Russell (N) 27 Chas Collins (D) 18 John Randall (N) 16 Paul Britos (D) 15 Dan A. Cole (N) 15 Mike Rethman (N) 11 S.J. Harlan (N) 10 Robert M. Martin Jr. (N) 10
State Office of Elections
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