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Maui mayor seeks re-election; potential opponent bows out

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:47 p.m. HST, Oct 16, 2013

WAILUKU >> Maui Mayor Alan Arawaka is running for re-election, and the councilman who was considering running against him is bowing out.

Arakawa made the announcement Tuesday in the Lihikai School cafeteria.

Councilman Mike Victorino's possible bid for mayor was considered Arakawa's major obstacle, but Victorino said he hopes instead to be re-elected to the council's Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu seat, the Maui News reported. 

Victorino said he would have a good chance against Arakawa but decided the time isn't right for a divisive campaign.

"That's my way of saying, 'Mr. Mayor, thank you. I give you this one, I'll give you this one,"' Victorino said.

Victorino said he's come to respect Arakawa: "Though we don't agree all the time, I think you are doing what I consider a good job for the people of Maui County." 

Arakawa is seeking his third term as mayor. He won his first four-year term in 2002, defeating incumbent Mayor James "Kimo" Apana. He lost to Councilwoman Charmaine Tavares four years later but defeated her in 2010. If he wins next fall, he would be the first incumbent Maui mayor to win re-election since Linda Lingle, who served from 1991 to 1999.

During Arakawa's announcement, he cited some of his first-term accomplishments, including improving water reliability for Upcountry, doubling the number of roads being repaired, working to improve the permitting process and bringing back events such as Front Street's Halloween festivities. 

He said residents can bring their issues and concerns to him at "coffee shop conversations" around the county next year. The meeting schedule will be released in December.

Victorino will face Joe Blackburn in a rematch of the last council election. Blackburn is a retired Maui County fire rescue captain, according to his website.

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