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DeCoite holding off Ritte, recount pending

TROY HASHIMOTO – Leads District 8 race at first printout.

With the polls closed and all votes in, Rep. Lynn DeCoite held a 91-vote lead over Walter Ritte on Sunday morning, though both candidates said they were awaiting results of Monday’s mandatory recount.

DeCoite finished with 3,243 votes, or 48.2 percent, to Ritte’s 3,152 votes, or 46.9 percent in the Democratic contest for the House District 13 seat that covers East Maui, Molokai and Lanai, according to the fourth printout at 11:38 a.m. Sunday. There were 313 blank votes, or 4.7 percent, and 19 over votes.

Maui County Clerk Kathy Kaohu confirmed early Sunday morning that the numbers were final, per the state Office of Elections, though a mandatory recount is scheduled for Monday.

Ritte posted on his Facebook page that “it was a long night and Molokai has spoken, congratulations to Lynn Decoite.” However, he later told The Maui News that he wasn’t officially conceding until he saw the results of the recount.

The race had been tight all night long, with DeCoite jumping ahead with a 104-vote lead that shrank to 29 votes as of the second printout at 9:33 p.m. The final printout wasn’t available until several hours later as election officials waited for a final delivery of 125 ballots from Hana.

LYNN DECOITE -- Locked in a tight race with Walter Ritte

The winner of the primary will move on to the Nov. 3 general election to face Robin Vanderpool, who earned 304 votes, or 38.3 percent, with 488 blank votes, or 61.5 percent, as the only Republican running in the District 13 race. Theresa Kapaku, who is running under the Aloha Aina party for the District 13 seat, finished with 83 votes, or 79 percent, with 22 blank votes, or 21 percent.

Incumbent state Rep. Troy Hashimoto saw little change to his wide lead in Central Maui’s District 8 race with 4,930 votes, or 70.6 percent, to Ka’apuni Aiwohi’s 1,222 votes (17.5 percent) and Bobby Hill’s 486 votes (7 percent). Hashimoto won the seat outright Saturday night, as all three candidates were Democrats with no challengers from other parties.

In the state House District 12 race for Upcountry, another winner-take-all contest, incumbent Democratic Rep. Kyle Yamashita won back his seat with 4,133 votes, or 53.9 percent, over Democratic challenger Simon Russell’s 2,874 votes, or 37.5 percent.

In a rematch of two familiar South Maui candidates, Democratic Rep. Tina Wildberger topped former County Council Member Don Couch with 2,876 votes, or 58.9 percent, to Couch’s 1,466 votes, or 30 percent in the District 11 race. The two last faced off in the 2018 Democratic primary, with Wildberger eventually going on to win the seat. Howard Greenberg, the lone Aloha Aina candidate for District 11, had 48 votes, or 54.5 percent, with 40 blank votes, or 45.5 percent.

Another incumbent, Democratic Rep. Angus McKelvey, also maintained his lead with the final printout, collecting 2,262 votes, or 55.9 percent, to Leonard K. Nakoa III’s 1,155 votes, or 28.5 percent. The two were running to represent West Maui’s District 10 along with Republican Kanamu Balinbin, who was running unopposed and had 426 votes, or 34.9 percent, with 795 blank votes, or 65.1 percent, and Aloha Aina candidate Travis Gyldstrand, who had 75 votes, or 62 percent, with 46 blank votes, or 38 percent.

WALTER RITTE – Trails DeCoite by 104 votes.

Democratic Rep. Justin Woodson was the only House incumbent running unopposed in the primary; he had 3,716 votes, or 78.4 percent, with 1,017 blank votes, or 21.5 percent, and six over votes. His opponent in Kahului’s District 9 is Aloha Aina candidate Kahala Jen Chrupalyk, who had 92 votes, or 73 percent, with 34 blank votes, or 27 percent.

Democratic Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran also ran unopposed in the primary; he had 8,738 votes, or 74.5 percent, with 2,973 blank votes, or 25.4 percent. His opponents in Central Maui’s District 5 are Republican Christy Kajiwara-Gusman, who had 1,203 votes, or 50.8 percent, with 1,163 blank votes, or 49.1 percent, and Aloha Aina candidate Rynette Ipo Keen, who had 217 votes, or 68.5 percent, with 100 blank votes, or 31.5 percent.

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