Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono easily defeated former congressman Ed Case in Hawaii’s Democratic Senate primary on Saturday. Hirono will face former Republican governor Linda Lingle in the general election.


Democrat Rep. Mazie Hirono, left, and Senator Daniel Inouye speak to supporters after Hirono won the Democratic primary nomination for a Hawaii seat in the U.S. Senate, Saturday, Aug. 11. (Marco Garcia/AP)

With all precincts reporting, Hirono captured 57 percent of the vote while Case only got 40 percent. Hirono was backed by both the state and national Democratic establishment and outraised Case by a substantial margin during the campaign. But divergent polling during the stretch run of the contest suggested Saturday's election might be close.

Lingle, who served as governor for two terms, easily advanced from the Republican primary with 90 percent of the vote against nominal competition. A top recruit of national Republicans, Lingle’s fundraising ability and high name ID will ensure that she competes for the seat in November.

But as a Republican running in a blue state during a presidential year — one where President Obama grew up, and remains very popular — Lingle faces a challenge. She has been working to underscore her moderate credentials while Democrats have been trying to cast her as too conservative for the Aloha State.

In the Democratic primary for Hirono’s open 2nd District seat, Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard easily defeated former Hono­lulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.