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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 blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' A vaccine, a Burrito and more: 7 lighter, memorable moments from 2020 Growing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting 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 BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants 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 SandersABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent Ron Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor GOP pulling out all the stops to delay COVID-19 package MORE (I-Vt.) for president over the eventual party nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton brings up 'Freedom Fries' to mock 'cancel culture' Edie Falco to play Hillary Clinton in Clinton impeachment series White House defends Biden's 'Neanderthal thinking' remark on masks MORE

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. 

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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.