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House District 14 candidate stays on ballot

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A Circuit Court judge rejected yesterday a challenge by Kauai Democrats to a Republican state House candidate.

Democrats had wanted to remove Harry Williams, a Kapaa contractor, from the September primary ballot in House District 14 in Hanalei. Democrats alleged that the state GOP should not have been allowed to name Williams as a replacement for David Hamman, a Princeville locksmith who deliberately filed and withdrew from the House race just before the candidate filing deadline to give the GOP more time to find a candidate against state Rep. Hermina Morita, a Democrat.

State law gives political parties three days to find replacements when one of the party candidates withdraws. Hamman is running for state Senate.

"This one was pretty cut and dry. We were sure from the beginning that they were not going to prevail," said Dylan Nonaka, executive director of the state GOP.

Democrats claimed Hamman did not properly file his nomination papers and was never a qualified House candidate. Republicans countered that Hamman’s paperwork was accepted by the elections clerk as valid. Questions were also raised over whether the GOP named Williams within the three-day window provided under the law.

"I’m disappointed," Morita said. "I think the system failed because I think the law is really clear regarding nomination papers."

If Democrats had prevailed, Morita would have been unopposed.


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