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Kenoi re-elected as Hawaii mayor in close race over Kim

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:18 a.m. HST, Nov 7, 2012

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi won reelection by a slight margin Tuesday night over retired two-term mayor Harry Kim.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Kenoi came out ahead by 1,457 votes or 2 percent. The tally was 31,433 (49.9 percent) to 29,976 (47.6 percent).

The 43-year-old mayor fought to retain his seat against Kim, his 73-year-old former boss and childhood football coach.

Without any scientific polls having been taken, it appeared Kenoi would dominate, outspending Kim 30 to 1.

Kenoi spent $600,000 on his campaign with TV, radio and newspaper ads and yard signs, while Kim maintained his low-key campaign style, limiting donations to $10, spending just $20,000.

Kenoi had endorsements of the public workers unions, chambers of commerce and support of businesses, as well as that of U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, who was featured in radio ads.

But the popular Kim had the endorsements of the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter and County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who came in third in the primary.

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