Incumbent US Sen. Brian Schatz wins Hawaii primary

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HONOLULU (AP) — Incumbent U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz won his Democratic primary race Saturday, defeating four challengers in his bid for his first full term in office.

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HONOLULU (AP) — Incumbent U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz won his Democratic primary race Saturday, defeating four challengers in his bid for his first full term in office.

Schatz easily advanced to meet Republican John Carroll in the November general election.

Schatz says his win in the Hawaii primary validates all the hard work he has done on behalf of the state, and he looks forward to continuing a robust campaign into the general election.

If he wins the election in November, Schatz says he will continue to focus on combating global warming by making the United States a global leader on clean energy.

“My priority continues to be working on bringing home federal resources for the state of Hawaii and making a meaningful difference on climate change,” Schatz told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Saturday. “It’s the challenge of our generation, it’s an area where American leadership is essential and we’ve made a lot of progress over the last two years.”

Schatz had an unlikely road to the Senate. When Hawaii’s beloved Sen. Daniel Inouye died in December 2012, it was left to then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill the seat. Inouye’s dying wish was to have then-U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa fill the seat, but Abercrombie instead chose Schatz, his lieutenant governor.

Two years later, Hanabusa challenged Schatz but lost in a special election to fill the last two years of Inouye’s unexpired term.

Other Democratic candidates in Saturday’s race included Makani Christensen, Tutz Honeychurch, Artuto Reyes and Miles Shiratori. The Republican candidates included Carroll, Karla Gottschalk, Eddie Pirkowski and John Roco.

Attempts to reach Carroll weren’t immediately successful.

Schatz serves on the Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Indian Affairs committees. He also serves on the Select Committee on Ethics.

He has introduced legislation on reducing the effects of climate change and promoting clean energy. Hawaii leads the nation in its initiatives to become completely energy independent by 2045.

Schatz, who was raised in Hawaii, was a member of the state House from 1998 to 2006. He is married and has two children.

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Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also won her Democratic primary garnering 79,562 votes, or 84.5 percent of votes cast, and is expected to beat her Republican challenger during the general election. She said she was grateful and humbled by the vote of confidence. If she wins the general election, she plans to tackle homelessness, Hawaii’s high cost of living and rural access to health care and quality education.

“Families are being priced out of paradise, priced out of their homes, being forced to move to the mainland because they can’t afford to put a roof over their heads,” Gabbard said.

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