ELECTION NOTES from around the state
KAWAKAMI COASTS THROUGH PRIMARY
Incumbent Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami easily secured the top spot in the mayor’s race with 13,551 votes, or 73.3 percent, according to the second set of results from the state Office of Elections results on Saturday night.
Michael Roven Poai was the second-closest challenger with 2,093 votes, or 11.3 percent, followed by Mageso-William Denis with 777 votes, or 4.2 percent, and Mitch McPeek at 726 votes, or 3.9 percent.
Maui and Kauai are the only counties in the state with a mayoral election this year.
In Maui County, retired judge Richard Bissen and incumbent Mayor Michael Victorino are bound for the general election after finishing in the top two in a field of eight candidates on Saturday night.
INCUMBENTS UPSET IN LEGISLATURE
Rep. Linda Clark is one of several incumbents in the state Legislature set to lose their seats after the second printout of votes Saturday night.
The East Maui resident, who was appointed in July 2021 to fill the House District 13 seat vacated by now-Sen. Lynn DeCoite, was trailing political newcomer Mahina Poepoe, a Molokai resident, with 1,060 votes, or 30.2 percent, to Poepoe’s 1,397 votes, or 39.8 percent, as of 10:30 p.m. Saturday. House District 13 includes East Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.
Oahu lawmaker Sen. Bennette Misalucha was also behind Brandon Elefante with 3,563 votes, or 27.1 percent, to Elefante’s 8,651 votes, or 65.7 percent.
Another Oahu lawmaker, Rep. Dale Kobayashi, was trailing with 2,455 votes, or 39.2 percent, to Andrew Takuya Garrett’s 3,241 votes, or 51.7 percent.
Oahu Rep. Roy Takumi had 1,802 votes, or 31 percent, to Gregg Takayama’s 3,616 votes, or 62,3 percent.
On Hawaii island, Sen. Lorraine Acasio was behind with 3,529 votes, or 27.4 percent, to Lorraine Rodero Inouye’s 6,839 votes, or 53.2 percent.
GALUTERIA TOPS INCUMBENT WAIHEE IV IN OHA RACE
Brickwood Galuteria beat out current Office of Hawaiian Affairs At-Large Trustee John Waihee IV with 81,333 votes, or 9.5 percent, according to the second printout.
Waihee collected 70,899 votes, or 8.3 percent, followed by Lei Ahu Isa with 60,664 votes, or 7.1 percent; Chad Owens with 57,080 votes, or 6.7 percent; and Keoni Souza with 51,881 votes, or 6 percent.
They were the top-five candidates in a race with 11 candidates.
In the race for OHA Oahu resident trustee, Kalei Akaka led with 96,665 votes, or 33.8 percent, followed by Brendon Kalei’aina Lee at 30,958 votes, or 10.8 percent. They were the top two vote-getters in a field of four candidates.
Nearly half of all voters in both races left the ballot blank, with 386,284 votes, or 45 percent of all ballots, in the at-large trustee race, and 117,271 blank votes, or 41 percent, in the Oahu trustee race.
Some residents have said in the past that they do not vote in the OHA race because they feel it’s not their place if they’re not Native Hawaiian.
STATE SEES LARGE DROP IN TURNOUT
Turnout statewide was 33.5 percent, with 286,162 ballots cast out of 853,874 registered voters, according to the second printout.
A total of 277,020 ballots, or 32.4 percent, came by mail, with the largest turnout among Democrats at 208,379 votes, followed by Republicans at 51,733 votes.
In-person turnout made up a small fraction of the total votes with 9,142, or 1.1 percent. More Republicans voted in person (5,921) than Democrats (2,747).
Maui County had the lowest voter turnout in the state at 25.1 percent. Hawaii County led the state at 37.4 percent, followed by Honolulu County at 34.3 percent and Kauai County at 33.4 percent as of the second printout.
This year’s turnout was a marked difference from the 2020 primary, when 51.2 percent of voters — 407,190 out of 795,248 registered voters — cast ballots. It was also a presidential election year and the first time Hawaii shifted to an all mail-in system of voting.
Turnout is typically lower in the primary election and in years when there is no presidential race.