The 76-member Hawaii Legislature was down to just six Republicans after Democrats picked up two seats Tuesday.

Democrat Stanley Chang ousted longtime Republican Sen. Sam Slom in one of the most closely watched Hawaii legislative races.

Chang had 50.5 percent of the vote while Slom had 45.1 percent with all precincts reporting.

Former Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang arrives at Democrats' election night party at the Japanese Cultural Center.

Former Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang arrives at Democrats’ election night party at the Japanese Cultural Center on Tuesday evening.

Slom, who held the District 9 seat representing the area from Diamond Head to Hawaii Kai since 1996, provided the chamber’s lone GOP voice since 2010.

In losing his bid for another four-year term, the 25-member Senate will become the first one-party chamber in the nation since 1980, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State Sen. Sam Slom gathers with supporters while awaiting election returns. The only Republican state senator was trailing in early returns.
Sen. Sam Slom gathers with supporters while awaiting election results Tuesday in Aina Haina. Eugene Tanner/Civil Beat

Chang, a former Honolulu City Council member and unsuccessful 2014 congressional candidate, raised and spent three times as much on his campaign as Slom. The 34-year-old Iolani High School graduate also went door to door in the district to drum up support and was often out at dawn waving signs.

Chang declined to comment Tuesday evening pending the final results.

Slom, 74, has long pushed for limited government and lower taxes while Chang has promoted progressive values ranging from increased funding for public schools to equal rights for gay couples.

“I said from the very beginning, whatever the voters decide is good enough for me,” Slom said earlier in the evening. “And no matter what happens tonight, I’ll continue to be involved in the community and take an active part.”

Slom said the public ultimately loses out in a one-party system.

“The public is robbed anytime there’s a monopoly — whether it’s Hawaiian Electric, whether it’s Young Brothers’ barge, whether it’s one newspaper — you don’t get different thoughts, different ideas,” he said.

Pouha Loses GOP Seat To Quinlan

Republicans also lost one of their seven seats in the 51-member House.

Sean Quinlan
Sean Quinlan 

Democrat Sean Quinlan defeated GOP Rep. Feki Pouha, 48.7 percent to 47.2 percent, in the District 47 race to represent Haleiwa, Laie, Kaaawa and the rest of northeastern Oahu.

Quinlan, who interned for state Sen. Gil Riviere last legislative session, is a young businessman who ran a wholesale frozen drink and coffee company before becoming a partner in a web development firm.

Other Republicans easily held their seats though.

GOP Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang won a third consecutive term to represent Mililani in District 36.

She took 65.7 percent of the vote, while former Democratic Rep. Marilyn Lee had 31.7 percent with all precincts reporting.

Lee held the seat from 1996 until she lost to Fukumoto Chang in 2012 by less than 5 percentage points. Fukumoto Chang was re-elected in 2014 by a 2-1 margin, which she essentially repeated Tuesday.

Rep Beth Fukumoto Change GOP convention held at the FILAM in Waipahu. 21 april 2016.
GOP Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang is battling former Democratic Rep. Marilyn Lee again this election. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Fukumoto Chang, 33, serves as House minority leader — the youngest female caucus leader in the country, according to her website.

She’s known to work well with the majority Democrats, which has caused some members of the GOP to attack her and suggest she switch parties. She’s said she’s committed to staying a Republican at least through this two-year term.

Andria Tupola
Andria Tupola 

GOP Rep. Andria Tupola, easily won her second term representing District 43 on Oahu’s west side, with 65 percent of the vote compared to 32.6 percent for Democrat Stacelynn Eli.

Tupola received campaign support from GOP colleagues and the Oahu League of Republican Women PAC, among others. She spent twice as much as Eli on the campaign.

Eli defeated former Rep. Karen Awana in the August primary to become the Democratic candidate. Tupola won the seat in 2014 against Awana, who had resigned from her House leadership position a year earlier while facing thousands of dollars in fines for campaign-finance violations.

“Honestly, I just feel very grateful,” Tupola said. “It feels great to see the results tonight and know our efforts were validated by the response from the community members. I look forward to another two years of community service and expanded reach for the people in my district.”

Also out on the west side of Oahu, Democrat Cedric Gates won with 61.3 percent of the vote to Republican Marc Paaluhi’s 36.5 percent for the District 44 seat.

Democratic candidate Cedric Gates ran against Rep. Jo Jordan to represent Waianae.
Democrat Cedric Gates ran against Republican Marc Paaluhi to represent west Oahu. Courtesy: Cedric Gates

Gates was the only candidate to oust an incumbent in the August primary, defeating Rep. Jo Jordan. His candidacy was subsequently challenged because he was not technically a member of the Democratic Party, having run as a Green Party candidate in 2014.

Democratic Party officials, while acknowledging “procedural or bureaucratic errors,” ultimately offered him membership last month.

Gates received campaign money from House Democratic leaders and developers who plan to build a $300 million resort in the rural district.

“The community has spoken,” Gates said. “Our hard work and dedication to our community has put us where we are today and I’m just very grateful for the community support and I’m looking forward to leading our community to our prosperous future.”

Paaluhi raised half as much as Gates, but did receive support from the United Public Workers, one of the state’s biggest unions. UPW generally just donates to Democrats.

He remained optimistic despite being so far behind after the preliminary results.

“We’re still confident,” Paaluhi said. “I mean, we’re still in the game. … We were boots on the ground today and throughout the election.”

New Members To Enter Legislature

Gates, Chang and Quinlan won’t be the only new faces in the Legislature.

Democrat Nadine Nakamura defeated Republican Sandi Combs 65.5 percent to 24.9 percent in the race for an empty House seat representing east and north Kauai.

Democrat Nadine Nakamura, seen here campaigning in Kilauea, ran for state House.
Democrat Nadine Nakamura campaigning in Kilauea. Courtesy: Nadine Nakamura

The rare open District 14 race was created when Rep. Derek Kawakami decided to run for the Kauai County Council instead.

Kawakami finished first in the race for council. Arryl Kaneshiro, Mel Rapozo, Ross Kagawa, JoAnn Yukimua, Arthur Brun and Mason Chock rounded out the top seven who will serve on the council for the next two years. Incumbents KipuKai Kualii and Gary Hooser finished eighth and ninth, respectively.

In another House race for an empty seat, Democrat Daniel Holt beat Republican Kaiwiola Coakley 66.2 percent to 19.4 percent in the battle to represent House District 29, which includes Kalihi, Palama, Iwilei and Chinatown.

The seat opened up when five-term Democratic Rep. Karl Rhoads decided to run for the Senate.

Rhoads won with 66.1 percent of the vote against Democrat-turned-Republican Rod Tam, who had 23.4 percent. Libertarian Harry Ozols trailed with 3.6 percent.

Hawaii Senate District 13 Candidate Karl Rhoads is given a lei while spending time with his supporters at the Square Barrels Craft Burgers and Craft Beers bar Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Honolulu. Photo by Eugene Tanner
Rep. Karl Rhoads, seen here after his primary win in August, left his House seat to run for the Senate against Republican Rod Tam. Eugene Tanner/Civil Beat

Tam served two days in jail in 2011 for stealing city funds and violating campaign finance laws as a Honolulu City Council member, but state Republican Party officials welcomed him as their candidate and said he deserved a fresh start.

The District 13 seat opened up when Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, who has represented the downtown Honolulu area since 1990, announced in May that she would not be seeking another term.

Despite 65 seats up for election in the Hawaii Legislature, only a handful of races were even remotely competitive in this Democrat-dominated state.

Twenty-five candidates were completely unopposed and six Democrats had no Republican challenger, making them shoo-ins given that the Libertarian and Green parties have never won a state legislative seat.

In other races, incumbents faced first-time candidates who lack campaign funds and name recognition.

To see a full list of results, go to the Office of Elections website.

Noelle Fujii contributed to this report.

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