U’u-Hodgins, Cook are top vote-getters for open council seats
First-time political candidate Nohe U’u-Hodgins said she was “super, super excited” as she led with 30.5 percent or 8,679 votes in the race for the Makawao-Paia-Haiku residency seat.
“I’m going to take a minute to enjoy this moment, spend time with my family,” she said, before regrouping for the general election.
The Makawao resident and her family members were gathered at her parents’ house in Paia on election night.
U’u-Hodgins, a permit facilitator and daughter of carpenter union representative Bruce U’u, was the top fundraiser among council candidates, raising about $63,000.
She said she thought it was her message that resonated with voters.
“We need affordable housing. We need a balance of culture and housing and the environment so we can continue to live here,” she said. “We all know somebody who has left and wants to come home.
“I think that’s the message that reaches most people. We just all hope to continue to live here.”
Dave DeLeon, who received 19.7 percent, or 5,622 votes in the race, also was expected to move on to the general election.
“I really want to thank the voters for giving me the opportunity to keep going,” he said.
DeLeon was an executive assistant to Mayor Linda Lingle and chief of staff for Mayor Alan Arakawa. He also was government affairs director for the Realtors Association of Maui County.
He said his plan for the general election is to “work hard and try to see if we can get more votes and make the difference up.”
DeLeon was cautious after the first printout as he watched the vote counts for Nara Boone, who trailed him in third place by 830 votes and about three percentage points after the first printout.
Boone finished third with 4,865 votes, followed by Daniel Smith with 2,310 votes and Aram Armstrong with 1,260 votes, according to the second printout.
The seat is being vacated by Council Member Mike Molina, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor, finishing fifth of eight candidates on Saturday night.
In the South Maui race, Tom Cook was the top vote-getter with 37.2 percent or 10,586 votes.
“I joke with my friends that this is my second election, so I’m a second-year apprentice,” he said. “I have a lot to learn.”
Compared with the last time he ran for the seat, COVID wasn’t such an issue in the campaign.
“People have been so helpful,” he said. “Local people coming together, it’s a beautiful thing. The happy, powerful side of politics is what I’ve witnessed this campaign.”
Cook, a contractor, already is thinking about ways to tackle the shortage of affordable housing in the county.
He will face Robin Knox, an environmental scientist who finished second with 28.9 percent or 8,241 votes, advancing to the general election. Knox was endorsed by Council Member Kelly King, who is vacating the seat after her unsuccessful run for mayor, finishing third to frontrunners Richard Bissen and Mayor Michael Victorino.
Knox didn’t return a call seeking comment Saturday night.
Dennis O’Shea, a retired fire captain, Naval Reserves veteran and business owner, received 3,307 votes, or 10.3 percent.