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Kahele wins Hawaii House race to replace Gabbard

Kahele wins Hawaii House race to replace Gabbard
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Hawaii state Sen. Kai Kahele (D) won the election on Tuesday to fill the seat vacated by outgoing Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard on Chicago mayor's decision to limit media interviews to people of color: 'Anti-white racism' Fox News says network and anchor Leland Vittert have 'parted ways' New co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials MORE (D-Hawaii). 

Kahele handily defeated Republican Joe Akana in Hawaii's heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional District.

The Associated Press called the race early Wednesday with 89 percent of precincts reporting and Kahele winning 64 percent of the vote to Akana's 30 percent. 

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Kahele initially announced a primary challenge against Gabbard last year. But Gabbard later announced that she would not seek reelection to the House seat that she has held since 2013 so that she could focus on her ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Kahele had accused Gabbard of spending too much time campaigning for president and neglecting time with constituents in the district.  

Gabbard’s quixotic presidential bid never gained traction and she eventually suspended her campaign in March to endorse former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE

Gabbard had drawn ire from fellow Democrats at times during her tenure for her unorthodox positions, particularly on foreign policy. 

In February 2016, Gabbard resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.) for president over the eventual party nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Monica Lewinsky responds to viral HBO intern's mistake: 'It gets better' Virginia governor's race poses crucial test for GOP MORE

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Later that year, Gabbard met with President Trump during his transition to the White House. And a few months after that, Gabbard secretly met with Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

Gabbard drew further scorn from her colleagues after voting “present” on the articles of impeachment against Trump in 2019. 

Kahele was appointed to the Hawaii state Senate in February 2016 to fill the rest of his late father's term. He was elected to the seat later that year. 

Kahele also serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Air National Guard.