9/13/18 -- Republicans have opted for retired computer engineer Ron Curtis to take on Mazie Hirono. This race is not expected to be competitive.
Since Hawaii became a state in 1959, it has elected only one Republican to the Senate: Hiram Fong, who served three terms from 1959-1976. Fong was succeeded by Democrat Spark Matsunaga, who was followed by Daniel Akaka. When Akaka retired in 2012, Democrats turned to Rep. Mazie Hirono. Republicans had hoped that former governor Linda Lingle (who had defeated Hirono in the 2002 gubernatorial election) would run a competitive race. She didn’t; Hirono won by 25 points. This time around, Republicans haven’t found a challenger yet.