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Johnson and De Jetley to face-off for Lanai seat

Gabe Johnson

For the Maui County Council’s vacant Lanai residency seat, Gabe Johnson led the three-way race Saturday night, followed by Alberta De Jetley, who will both advance to the general election.

The two are vying for the open seat being vacated by Riki Hokama who is term-limited.

Johnson polled 30.1 percent, 13,195 votes, while De Jetley polled 24.4 percent, 10,693, to earn the final spot in the general election set for Nov. 3.

Matthew Mano polled 20.4 percent with 8,934 votes. There were a considerable number of blank votes in the race, 11,028, or a quarter of the voters.

The number of blank ballots and Mano’s strong showing and who will claim his votes will be key factors as Johnson and De Jetley seek the council seat.

“I wanted to maintain my lead, that’s what I’m really hoping for because I want to go into the general (election) with momentum, I want to keep pounding my message,” Johnson said late Saturday night. “I just wanted to come in and go out first, that was my number one goal. It goes back to giving voters number one choice.” 

Johnson added that running against Hokama twice in past elections has given him more campaign and election experience.

As for the blank ballots, Johnson said “it’s really important” that residents know they can still submit votes from other districts. “You can live in Kahului, and you can still vote for the Lanai seat,” he said. 

“I have a lot of work ahead of me,” he said from his family home on Lanai, after the second-printout showed he continued his lead. “I want to make sure I’m reaching people and trying to send a message that includes normal people’s issues.

“I’m a people first kind of guy.” 

Earlier in the evening, De Jetley said she was surprised by Johnson’s lead at the first printout, saying that she’s been more “visible on Maui,” but was always confident that she would advance into the general election. 

Due to COVID-19, De Jetley canceled her plans to hold an open house at the Lanai ILWU Hall on Saturday night and opted for a family gathering at home to watch the final results.

Between now and the general election in November, she said she’ll be studying the results and researching how she can improve her campaign. 

After the first printout, Mano said his candidacy and election night have “been pretty good” despite the COVID-19 pandemic pushing virtual campaigns and the first all mail-in voting system.

“There’s a lot of voters this year, I was surprised to see the numbers,” he said. “We’ll see what happens after set three.”

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