Democrat Hirono wins U.S. Senate primary in Hawaii

Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) attends Jumpstart's 'Read for the Record' at Capitol Hill on October 8, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Paul Morigi/Images for Jumpstart

(AP) HONOLULU - U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has won the Democratic primary in Hawaii for an open U.S. Senate seat, setting up a race in November against former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.

Hirono bested former U.S. Rep. Ed Case on Saturday night to set up a rematch of sorts against Lingle. Lingle beat Hirono 10 years ago to become Hawaii's chief executive, then went on to serve eight years.

Lingle won her primary easily. Republicans hope she can swing the solidly blue state their way in the party's quest to pick up four seats and majority power in the U.S. Senate.

Lingle enters the general election as the underdog but having raised more funds thus far than Hirono.

Hirono had nearly 58 percent of the vote with 70 percent of precincts reporting.

Meanwhile, Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard won the Democratic nomination for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gabbard and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann were the best-known Democrats vying for the seat representing suburban and rural Oahu, along with neighbor islands. Political observers have said Saturday's primary will likely determine the race, despite a field that includes two Republicans.

Gabbard is a captain in the Army National Guard who served two Middle East tours. She received nearly 55 percent of the votes with 86 percent of precincts reporting, compared with 35 percent for Hannemann.

Hannemann was mayor for six years before resigning in 2010 to wage an unsuccessful bid for governor.

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