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Case elected to Congress from Hawaii

Case and his wife, Audrey, at his campaign headquarters in Honolulu Sunday.
Case and his wife, Audrey, at his campaign headquarters in Honolulu Sunday.

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HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) -- Democrat Ed Case has been elected to represent Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, the state election commission said Sunday.

Case, 50, won a special election held Saturday to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Rep. Patsy Mink, a Democrat who was elected posthumously to the seat in November.

Case received 43 percent of the vote. He defeated runner-up Matt Matsunaga, a fellow Democrat and the son of late U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga, by nearly 10,00 votes, said commission spokesman William Cadavona.

"It was a great win," Case told CNN. "Forty-three percent in a field of 44 is far beyond what I had hoped for in my wildest dreams."

In all, there were 15 Republicans, 12 Democrats, 14 independents, two Greens and a Libertarian in the race.

Under Hawaii law, the candidate receiving the most votes wins, even if he or she was short a majority.

"I had expected and told my supporters before the results [that] we could win if we got one-third of the vote in a field of 44," Case said, adding the outcome was "tremendous."

The seat was the last remaining vacancy of the 108th Congress, which convenes Tuesday in Washington.

Case, who also won a special election November 30 to fill out the remainder of Mink's term, credited his deep roots in and knowledge of his district for the win.

The voters in his district, which includes rural areas of Oahu and the outlying islands, "just all want good solid government, good representation in Congress," he said.

The scrambled political scene in the 2nd District began in September, when Mink, 74, died a week after winning the Democratic primary. Because the deadline had passed to change nominees, she remained on the November ballot and won easily.

Her posthumous victory prompted state election officials to conduct two special elections, one for the remainder of her current term and another for the term she won in November.

Case defeated Mink's husband, John, in the first special election, which also drew a crowded field of candidates. John Mink did not run in Saturday's election.

Case, a cousin of AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case, is a lawyer and a Hawaii native who has served in the state legislature since 1994. He is the married father of four.

He said his more famous cousin had not yet congratulated him.

"I've got a lot of cousins," he said. "I got a congratulatory call from some of my cousins, but not from the one you're probably talking about."



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