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Hawaii judge upholds timing of makeup primary

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A Hawaii judge on Thursday upheld the timing of a makeup primary election for more than 8,000 voters on the Big Island despite a last-minute challenge from a Senate candidate who said they should have more time to recover from a tropical storm. Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura ruled that the election should proceed Friday. The ruling rejects a complaint from U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is running in a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate against U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Hanabusa says the makeup election doesn't give enough time for voters in two Puna precincts to regain power and road access after the storm hit last week. Hanabusa filed a complaint against the head of Hawaii's elections office, asking for a temporary restraining order to block the election Friday. Her attorney, Richard Wardenan, said the lawmaker will not appeal the judge's decision. Hanabusa trails Schatz by about 1,600 votes and faces a steep challenge to overwhelmingly defeat Schatz in the two precincts and turn out enough voters to make up the deficit. The race in heavily Democratic Hawaii is likely to determine the state's eventual choice to fill two years of a term for U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died in 2012. Schatz was appointed to the seat after Inouye died. Schatz campaign spokeswoman Meaghan Smith has said the senator is focusing on helping residents recover from the storm and that the court and state elections officials will determine the best way forward to maximize voter participation. The election planned for Friday calls for voters to cast ballots at an elementary school with results released later that night.

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