Maui Democrat Kaniela Ing unseated Republican incumbent George Fontaine to win the state House seat representing South Maui in Tuesday's general election, pulling in 61 percent of votes in the hotly contested race.
Ing, 23, received 4,804 votes to Fontaine's 2,769 votes.
"I'm excited. I'm overwhelmed," Ing said Tuesday night. "The people of South Maui made it clear that they wanted some fresh faces, new ideas and some positivity, someone who shares their vision of community and someone who shares the vibrant aloha spirit."
While the dueling campaigns got heated at times, Ing credited Fontaine for running a competitive campaign.
"Hats off to Representative Fontaine. He ran an incredible campaign," Ing said. "I really appreciate the service he's given to our community over the last two years."
Fontaine, 52, said he was surprised by the results, but congratulated Ing on his win.
Kaniela Ing celebrates with his supporters after the second printout showed him maintaining his comfortable lead over incumbent George Fontaine in the 11th District state House race. Ing captured the seat that covers South Maui.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"Obviously, I'm disappointed. We're kind of surprised with the results," Fontaine said when reached shortly after the final results were reported. "I wish the best for Kaniela being a representative going forward. I wish him the best."
Fontaine, a retired captain with the Maui Police Department, has held the seat since being elected in 2010.
Fontaine said he hasn't decided if this election will end his political career.
"That's a discussion that will have to happen between my family, whether to continue on in the political process," he said. "We will all continue to work hard in our community. We understand the needs of the community and will continue to work toward making sure that those who are less fortunate are provided for."
Ing campaigned hard - knocking on doors for six hours a day, meeting with constituents and organizing regular sign-waving events. He secured key endorsements, including ones from labor unions and environmental groups.
Ing beat out three other Democratic contenders in the August primary.
"It was a lot of hard work," he said, "but I'm going to work 10 times as hard as your representative, South Maui."
Ing said he wanted to dedicate his win to his late father, Mark Kaulana Ing.
"He always told me to always be a leader growing up, and never be a follower, but to make sure that you listen to everyone around you and give back to your community," he said. "He taught me to never, never quit, and to keep sharing aloha."
During the campaign, Ing had been criticized by some for moving into the district this year, after attending school on Oahu, where he earned a master's degree in public administration and a bachelor's degree in psychology and political science, both from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
He served as University of Hawaii-Manoa student body president and as an at-large neighborhood board member while on Oahu.
Ing has said he's always identified Maui as his home, having been born and raised on the island. He argued that it was a positive move for him to return home to serve Maui.
In other Maui legislative races, Democratic incumbents in contested races held on to their posts against Republican challengers.
* House District 10, West Maui: Incumbent Angus McKelvey beat Chayne Marten by a 64 percent-29 percent margin. That was 4,245 votes to 1,952.
"I'm so thankful for all the support we've received. It means a lot to me," McKelvey said. "I'm so humbled, I'm sort of at a loss for words."
He pledged to continue working for the West Maui communities.
"We've got to continue to step up to the plate in a big way. We've got to get busy," he said.
Marten did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
* House District 12, Upcountry: Incumbent Kyle Yamashita handily defeated Ekolu Kalama.
Yamashita received 7,444 votes, or 73 percent of votes, to Kalama's 20 percent (2,069).
"I'm grateful to my community for their support and look forward to getting back to work and working hard for them," Yamashita said.
Kalama did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
* House District 13, East Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe: Incumbent Mele Carroll was re-elected with 68 percent of votes (5,771) to challenger Simon Russell's 25 percent (2,126).
"I'm so thrilled and happy," Carroll said. "I'd like to thank everybody who supported me for having confidence in my work. I will do my very best to continue to serve my community."
She added: "I look forward to working with all of my colleagues. I think we have a great Maui delegation."
Russell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
* Senate District 6, West and South Maui: Longtime incumbent Roz Baker defeated Bart Mulvihill by a margin of 67 percent (9,784) to 25 percent (3,709).
"I'm very pleased with the turnout. I think it's an indication of the support that I have in the community for all of the community service and staying in touch," Baker said. "They know that I have done my best to get results for them on issues that matter. I'm very pleased to be representing South and West Maui again at the state Senate."
The following Democratic Maui lawmakers were either unopposed or secured re-election during the primary election: Sens. Shan Tsutsui and J. Kalani English; and Reps. Joe Souki and Gil Keith-Agaran.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.