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Data show Bissen won twice as many precincts as Victorino

Mayor wins Molokai and Lanai, Bissen takes most of Maui

Mayoral candidate Richard Bissen applauds during an event at the Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center on Saturday night. State Office of Elections data show Bissen won 22 precincts, while Mayor Michael Victorino won nine and Council Member Kelly Takaya King took three. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

Former Judge Richard Bissen won more than twice as many precincts as Mayor Michael Victorino in Saturday’s primary election, according to data from the state Office of Elections.

Overall tallies put Bissen with 13,407 votes, or 34 percent, compared to Victorino’s 11,747 votes, or 29.8 percent. Both will face each other in the general election on Nov. 8.

In a breakdown of precinct votes from the state Office of Elections, Bissen won 22 precincts while Victorino won nine, with Bissen dominating the island of Maui including most of the Wailuku area, Upcountry, East Maui, West Maui and a share of Kahului and Kihei. While there are no longer polling stations in each district, the county is divided into precincts, and the counts include both mail-in ballots and in-person votes at the voter service centers.

Victorino’s backing came from mostly older neighborhoods on Maui, such as those around Kahului School, Kanaloa Avenue and Lahainaluna Road, as well as Lanai and Molokai, islands which he won.

However, in some of the precincts, there were slim margins between the two men — for example, in precinct 14-02, in the old Lahaina town and Lahainaluna Road area, Victorino won by nine votes, with 231 to Bissen’s 222. In precinct 9-02, which includes older neighborhoods such as Holua Drive and the neighborhood immediately around Maui Waena Intermediate in Kahului, Bissen won by 19 votes, with 588 to Victorino’s 569.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino talks with Akaku Maui Community Media CEO and President Jay April Saturday night. Victorino won nine precincts in the county, including Molokai and Lanai.

Council Member Kelly King, who came in third with 6,350 total votes or 16.1 percent, won three precincts: the Makena-Wailea area (614 votes, with Bissen at 412 and Victorino at 349), the neighborhood around Kukui Mall in Kihei (393 votes, with Victorino at 306 and Bissen at 274) and Haiku (907 votes, with Bissen at 774 and Victorino at 499).

King serves in the South Maui residency seat on the council and holds supporters there. Also, the Haiku precinct has been a rich resource for progressive candidate votes for years and has backed King in her bids for council.

On Monday, when asked what he would do to capture precincts that he lost, Bissen said he and his team will continue to work hard.

“Where we did well or didn’t do well, we still got to go out to the community,” he added, noting he had yet to look at the precinct numbers, as he was looking at overall totals.

Bissen said that before the primary, he and his team went out to 11 gatherings in different communities, including visiting Molokai twice and Lanai during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. They also went out to Hana and the Lahaina Civic Center and many communities in between.

“Everywhere we could, we went to,” he said.

Bissen said the team already has some community centers reserved for upcoming campaign events.

With King, who campaigned on being a climate-focused, environmentally friendly mayor, no longer in the race, Bissen and Victorino may need to vie for those votes.

But Bissen said on Monday that he was already seeking those votes when King was in the race.

“I’m still looking for those votes,” he added.

Bissen said some people may focus on certain issues in candidates, but “all the issues, the economy, the environment, it’s all important.”

“We are open to new ideas, we are open to ideas that have worked,” he said.

“I don’t look at this as concentrating on just one thing. I’m trying to do well on all of the things.”

Bissen added, “All of the folks who voted for someone other than the incumbent, we would of course be open to them joining our movement. Because I think a lot of us want the same things.”

An area where Bissen held the largest lead over Victorino was in Kula, with Bissen garnering 1,189 votes compared to Victorino’s 755, or a difference of 434 votes.

An area where Victorino beat Bissen by perhaps the largest margin was by 315 votes in the Kaunakakai and Kawela area on Molokai, where Victorino received 525 votes compared to Bissen’s 210.

In a statement Monday afternoon, Victorino did not respond directly to questions about precinct vote totals or what he will do to earn new votes, keeping his comments general.

He thanked those who participated in the election, from candidates to voters and volunteers.

“Our community works best when our electorate is engaged, and we will continue to earn your votes as we make our way to the general election,” Victorino said.

“My administrative priorities of increasing our housing supply, protecting and preserving our open spaces for future generations; and developing the opportunities our young people need to build their lives here continue to motivate our team, and we will strive to deliver on these for the benefit of all our local residents,” he said.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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