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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 12:10 a.m., Sunday, September 24, 2006

Case concedes U.S. Senate race

By Dan Nakaso and Johnny Brannon
Advertiser Staff Writers

Ed Case has telephoned U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and conceded the U.S. Senate Democratic primary, then told supporters he will do everything he can to help Akaka and Hawai'i's Democratic Congressional delegation.

At about 11:50 p.m., Case addressed the nearly 75 remaining supporters in the parking lot of the Standard Finance Plaza building on King and Cooke streets and said he pledged his support to Akaka.

With his wife, Audrey, by his side, Case said, "I have lost a few times and I have lost tonight. ... This has been a good fight. This has been a good effort and this effort makes for a better state and a better America."

Later, Case said, "He won, I lost and we need to get on with it."

"I would support him going forward."

Akaka took an early lead in the first printout of election returns and extended his lead through the second printout.

"Aloha," he told cheering supporters last night at the Dole Cannery Ballroom. "What a great evening. I'm really humbled. There's nothing but gratitude in my heart for all of you."

Following the second returns, Case stood with about 100 or so supporters in the parking lot of the Standard Finance Plaza building on King and Cooke streets.

Within minutes, rain began to fall on Case's outdoor event.

In the Republican primary, former Vietnam POW Jerry Coffee also stretched out his lead over attorney Mark Beatty. Coffee withdrew from the GOP primary after emergency heart bypass surgery but Gov. Linda Lingle and other Republicans urged voters to vote for Coffee anyway, which would give Republicans the option of choosing his replacement by Tuesday for the November general election.

City Councilman Charles Djou appeared to take himself out of the running for a free shot at the U.S. Senate if Coffee wins the Republican primary and the party gets to name a replacement.

Djou said on KHNL-TV that such a race might make sense for him in the future, but not this year.

Former Gov. John Waihee and Randy Iwase, who was leading in his Democratic race for governor last night, both worked the Akaka crowd at the Dole Cannery Ballroom, shaking hands and cheering on the senator.

Waihee was surrounded by well-wishers as he walked the room. He got up before the crowd and spoke about the virtues of volunteering and emphasized his support of Akaka.

Afterward, he said he didn't miss the grind and stress of campaigning but was always willing to come out and support a fellow Democrat.

"I don't want to do this for a living anymore but coming back and participating was fun," Waihee said.

Advertiser staff writer Peter Boylan and Advertiser photographer Greg Yamamoto contributed to this report.