Speaking to reporters in his office, Abercrombie said Republicans, who are allowed to vote in the state's open primary, crossed over to vote against him because of his maneuver to legalize gay marriage. He also claimed that religious leaders urged voters to choose his opponent.
"Republicans crossed over en masse to vote in the Democratic primary, and then the religious factor came in," he said, as quoted by the AP. "Doctrinally I was outside the circle and paid for it."
State Sen. David Ige bested Abercrombie by 35 percentage points in the primary election earlier this month. It was the first time a Democratic governor was unseated in a Hawaii primary.
One religious leader told the AP that while people were upset that Abercrombie didn't wait until the regular legislative session to focus on gay marriage, he didn't know whether other religious leaders boosted a vote against the governor.
"We couldn't have figured out what the urgency was," Walter Yoshimitsu, executive director of the Hawaii Catholic Conference, said. "If he had dealt with it in the regular session, there would have been more time."