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Incumbents cruising to victory in Big Isle council contests

By Dan Nakaso

LAST UPDATED: 10:28 a.m. HST, Aug 10, 2014

HILO >> All six of Hawaii island's Council members seeking re-election were cruising to easy victory Saturday night, including first-term Councilwoman Margaret Wille, who had pushed to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and wanted to ban genetically modified crops.

Out of Hawaii island's nine Council members, two face term limits. A third, Councilman Zendo Kern, chose not to run for re-election to represent Kurtistown, Mountain View and Kehena.

In the crowded race of seven candidates to replace Kern, Daniel K. Paleka Jr. clung to his early lead.

The outcome of Saturday's Hawaii island election results could change after votes are finally counted at some point.

Two Hawaii island polling sites -- at Hawaii Paradise Community Center and Keoneopoko Elementary School -- were ordered closed after Tropical Storm Iselle rumbled through the island, cutting off access to the sites.

State elections officials were still trying to figure out how to distribute and collect an estimated 8,000 absentee ballots from voters in the area, although some may have voted before Iselle hit.

Aaron S.Y. Chung continued his commanding lead in the five-candidate race to fill the Council seat representing Hilo and Kaumana, following the departure of Councilman J. Yoshimoto, who faced a term limit.

Maile David-Medeiros also appeared headed to easy victory in the open Council seat representing Volcano, Kau and South Kona. Incumbent Councilwoman Brenda Ford also will have to vacate her seat because of term limits.

Councilman Greggor Ilagan led his three challengers to again represent Haena, Kapoho and Pahoa.

And Councilwoman Karen Eoff also easily led in her bid to again represent North Kona.

Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter also enjoyed a commanding lead to represent Hamakua and North Hilo.

Councilmen Dru Mamo Kanuha (North and South Kona) and Dennis "Fresh" Onishi (parts of South Hilo and Keaau) are running unopposed.

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