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Two win Honolulu City Council seats but Ozawa and Waters headed for rematch

Political newcomer Heidi Tsuneyoshi and veteran politico Carol Fukunaga won victories in their Honolulu City Council races while Councilman Trevor Ozawa and former state Rep. Tommy Waters are heading for a run-off in November.

Tsuneyoshi, senior advisor to outgoing Councilman Ernie Martin, held a decisive 48 percent of the vote over former state Sen. Robert “Bobby” Bunda’s 26 percent following the last printout late on primary election night. Realtor Choon James and farmer Dave Burlew were far behind.

District 2, the most far-reaching of the city’s nine Council territories, encompasses the area from Mililani Mauka to Kahaluu. Martin is finishing up his second consecutive four-year term and was barred from running for a third straight term.

The contest was marred by a series of anonymous mailers that questioned Bunda’s integrity and character. The mailers urged voters to support Burlew, who has vehemently denied playing any role in the negative campaigning. Tsuneyoshi and James also denied any involvement.

Under the Honolulu City Charter, the top two vote-getters in the primary election advance to a one-on-one contest in the general election. The exception is when the first-place finisher gets more than 50 percent of the votes cast, in which case the the person with the most votes wins outright and avoids a November runoff.

In Council District 6 (Makiki to Kalihi), Fukunaga won handily with 45 percent of the vote over community advocate and magazine publisher Ikaika Hussey (19 percent) and union official Tyler Dos Santos-Tam (17 percent). City planner Zack Stoddard finished fourth.

The super PAC Be Change Now poured a significant amount of money into the race with flyers supporting Dos-Santos Tam and opposing Fukunaga.

In District 4 (Hawaii Kai to Ala Moana), Ozawa had about 40 percent of the votes cast to Waters 31 percent. The two now head to a November runoff, a rematch of their 2014 head-to-head contest which Ozawa won by 41 votes. CPA and community advocate Natalie Iwasa and golf professional Ricky Marumoto were third and fourth.

When there are two candidates for a Council race, the candidates face off in a single election in November under the City Charter. As a result, the District 8 (Lower Aiea to Waipahu) contest did not appear on the primary election ballot. Incumbent Councilman Brandon Elefante will face challenger Kelly Kitashima, a hotel executive and former Mrs. Hawaii.

For full Honolulu Star-Advertiser coverage of the 2018 Primary Election, go to

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