Kahului was the single state House district Mufi Hannemann claimed in his losing bid to Tulsi Gabbard in Saturday's Democratic primary race for the 2nd Congressional District, according to a geographical analysis of voter results.
Hannemann bested Gabbard by a margin of 50.9 percent to 43.2 percent in Maui's state House District 9 - which includes Kahului, Wailuku and Puunene.
Gabbard dominated the remaining 26 House districts that make up the 2nd Congressional District, which covers all of the Neighbor Islands and rural Oahu.
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann leaves the University of Hawaii Maui College studios and heads for the ILWU headquarters Saturday night. Hannemann lost to Honolulu City Council Member Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional seat.
The Maui News MATTHEW THAYER photo
Overall, Gabbard easily won the primary with 54 percent of the vote, or 62,869 votes, to Hannemann's 33.6 percent, or 39,169 votes, statewide.
Hannemann's popularity with Central Maui voters could explain why the former Honolulu mayor and his wife, Gail, chose to spend Saturday afternoon sign-waving in Kahului near the intersection of Kuihelani Highway and South Puunene Avenue. Hannemann later spent most of the evening at the Maui headquarters of the International Longshore Workers Union in Wailuku before flying back to Oahu to watch the election results play out.
Hannemann's campaign manager, Justin Gruentein, previously an executive assistant to former Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares, did not return requests for comment.
Among Maui's six House districts, Gabbard did best in South Maui's District 11, with 58.9 percent of those votes. (The breakdown of votes by district includes absentee ballots counted in the precinct where the voter lives.)
Among the 27 voting House districts, Gabbard had the highest percentage of votes in Kaneohe Bay and Kailua on Oahu, with 66 percent of votes in District 50.
Gabbard will move on to face Republican David Kawika Crowley in November's general election to fill the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono.
Hirono, meanwhile, defeated Ed Case in the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate.
She, too, fared best - in terms of percentage - in the Kahului-Wailuku-Puunene state House district, according to an analysis of precinct votes.
Hirono got 75.8 percent of the vote to Case's 23 percent in Maui's state House District 9 - the largest margin she won among the state's 51 House districts. She performed second-best statewide in Maui's House District 8, which includes Wailuku, Waihee and Waikapu, with 71 percent of votes.
Hirono secured at least double the number of votes that Case received in five of Maui's six House districts.
Overall, Hirono beat Case by a margin of 56.8 percent to 40.3 percent statewide.
Hirono will face former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, who won her primary with 90.2 percent of votes statewide. Lingle, well-known in Maui County for her past terms as mayor and a council member, got 88.7 percent of Republican votes cast in Maui County.
The hotly contested congressional races - and a few local races - were expected to help draw out more voters, but fewer than one-third of registered Maui County voters actually voted.
Maui County's voter turnout for this year's primary amounted to 30.6 percent, or just 25,702 of the 84,042 registered voters, according to the state Office of Elections.
That's down from the 34 percent voter turnout that Maui County recorded for the 2010 primary. That year, races for governor and Maui County mayor appeared on the ballot and likely attracted more voters.
Close to 17 percent of Maui's registered voters cast their ballots at the polls this year, while nearly 14 percent voted by absentee ballot or early walk-in voting.
Maui County Clerk Jeffrey Kuwada said Sunday that he hadn't had a chance yet to analyze the voter turnout numbers.
He said he was still recuperating from Saturday's primary and plans to look into which particular areas saw turnout drop off.
Statewide, elections officials had cited some concern over voter turnout potentially being impacted by the primary election being pushed up a month earlier as well as changes to some precincts due to redistricting.
Voter turnout statewide Saturday totaled 42.3 percent of the 687,500 registered voters in Hawaii, just slightly down from the 42.8 percent turnout seen for the 2010 primary election but up from the 36.9 percent who voted in the 2008 primary election.
Kuwada noted that Maui County typically sees higher voter turnout for general elections versus primaries.
Just under 50 percent of registered voters in Maui County voted in the 2010 general election, while 61.1 percent of county voters cast ballots in the 2008 general election.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.