Rep. Mazie Hirono won her Democratic primary in Hawaii Saturday night setting up a general election contest for the Senate with Republican former Gov. Linda Lingle.
Hirono, a three-term lawmaker, bested former Rep. Ed Case 58 percent to 41, after votes from all 250 precincts were counted, reports said.
Case conceded the race, praising Hirono and saying she would “hold the banner of the Democratic Party high.”
Lingle won her GOP primary contest easily, defeating state lawmaker John Carroll with 90 percent to 6 in early returns.
Hirono and Lingle will compete for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). Their fight is a rematch of their 2002 gubernatorial contest where Hirono lost to Lingle, who went on to be the first two-term GOP governor of the state in 40 years.
The November matchup for Senate is expected to be a tough fight for Lingle. A poll from the Honolulu Star Advertiser last month showed Hirono with 58 percent support from likely voters to Lingle’s 39. A Honolulu Civil Beat/MRG poll put Hirono up, but by a smaller margin of 5 points.
Lingle has won the support of key business groups in the state, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, but Democrats believe they will hold the edge on election day with native son President Obama on the ballot. Obama grabbed 72 percent of Hawaii’s vote in 2008, his largest margin of victory in any state.
Hirono was also boosted with an endorsement from an unlikely corner: GOP Rep. Don Young (Alaska) backed her in a video last month.
In the Democratic primary for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, the seat to be vacated by Hirono, Honolulu city councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard topped former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann 55 percent to 34 percent. Reports said Kawika Crowley won the GOP primary for the seat, defeating opponent Matthew Digeronimo.
Gabbard is the favorite in the district which has always been held by Democrats.