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Atay, Kane emerge in Maui Council contest

Community activist and natural farmer Alika Atay pulled ahead of Maui County Managing Director Keith Regan and will face off against front-runner Dain Kane in the November general election for the County Council’s Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu seat.

In the nonpartisan Council races, the top two vote-getters for each seat advance to the general election. While candidates have to reside in the district, voters across the county can vote for all of the Council seats.

An early edge Regan held over Atay was erased in the final round of voting results that included tallies from all 34 of Maui County’s precincts.

Kane, a former councilman who held the seat from 1998 to 2004, secured 23.9 percent of the votes, or 6,443 votes. Atay, who played an active role in a 2014 anti-GMO ballot initiative, got 23.6 percent of votes, or 6,354.

In all, five candidates had been vying for the seat, which is being vacated by Councilman Mike Victorino, who is term-limited.

Regan, managing director under Mayor Alan Arakawa, received 22.3 percent of votes (6,017 votes); retired fire captain and police officer Joseph Blackburn got 16.5 percent; and Hana Steel, the county’s recycling coordinator, received 5.3 percent.

Yuki Sugimura, vice chairwoman of the Maui County Democratic Party and a small business owner, and kumu hula Napua Greig-Nakasone are headed to the general election for the Upcountry residency seat being vacated by Councilwoman Gladys Baisa, who also is reaching her term limit. Sugimura collected 37.2 percent of votes to Greig-Nakasone’s 25.4 percent. Trailing behind were challengers Stacey Moniz (18.3 percent), a nonprofit director, and advertising executive Eric Molina (9 percent).

Council Chairman Mike White handily edged out challengers to his Makawao-Haiku-Paia seat with 49.4 percent of votes. He’ll face challenger Trinette Furtado, a community activist and self- employed graphic and web designer, who received 28.7 percent of votes. Veterinarian Alan Kaufman got 9.8 percent of votes.

In the South Maui residency race, incumbent Don Couch, who has held the seat since 2010, and entrepreneur Kelly King, who co-founded renewable energy company Pacific Biodiesel, will face off in the general election. Couch received 42 percent of votes to King’s 31.3 percent. Challengers Richard DeLeon, a tour operator, and Jerome “Tiger” Metcalfe, a former restaurateur, garnered 11.5 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Candidates running for the remaining five Council seats automatically advance to the general election. Under the county’s charter, races with two or fewer candidates bypass the primary.

East Maui incumbent Robert Carroll will face challenger Shane Sinenci; West Maui incumbent Elle Cochran is facing Ernest Balinbin; Kahului incumbent Don Guzman is running against Vanessa Medeiros; Lanai incumbent Riki Hokama will face off with Gabe Johnson; and Molokai incumbent Stacy Crivello is vying against Keani Rawlins- Fernandez.

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