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Race narrows for Kauai, Maui mayors


    Puna residents voted Saturday at the Pahoa Community Center on the Big Island.

The next mayors of Maui and Kauai will be selected in November among current or former county council members after voters narrowed two wide fields of contenders Saturday.

Saturday’s primary election also created some new additions to three neighbor island county councils, though most incumbents retained their seats.

In the mayoral contests, there were close battles between second and third place in the nonpartisan races where the top two finishers advance to the Nov. 6 general election.

For Maui County, former councilman Mike Victorino topped five others in that race.

Victorino had 40 percent of the vote with nearly all votes counted. Councilwoman Elle Cochran edged out Councilman Don Guzman for second place. Cochran had 30 percent of the count compared with 24 percent for Guzman with nearly all votes counted.

Victorino, who left the council in 2016 after reaching a term limit, said he expects a tough race in November.

“There’s a lot of work to be done for the general,” he said. “I’m going to work hard.”

On Kauai, Councilmen Derek Kawakami and Mel Rapozo were leading five other contenders.

Kawakami, a former state House member, dominated with 49 percent of the ballots cast.

“We’re just very honored and humbled by the amount of support we were able to get,” he said. “I’m happy and excited, but I also know it’s a long road to November and we need to continue to work hard.”

The margin for second place was tight. Rapozo had about 4,100 votes, or 22 percent, compared with about 3,700, or 19.8 percent, for JoAnn Yukimura, though not all votes were counted. Yukimura was Kauai mayor from 1988 to 1994 and has spent 22 years on the council over four decades, including a current term.

The jobs of mayor on Kauai and Maui counties are up for grabs because of term limits.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has served two four-year terms. He sought to become lieutenant governor but finished in third place among Democrats behind state Sens. Josh Green and Jill Tokuda.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa served two four-year terms. He is seeking a Maui County Council seat and will advance to the general election with Natalie Kama representing the Kahului area.

County councils on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island had many contenders, though incumbents fared the best in Saturday’s primary.

On Kauai, 24 people vied for seven council seats without district divisions.

The primary election advances 14 to the general election. Making the cut were the four incumbents in the race — Arthur Brun, Mason Chock, Ross Kagawa and Arryl Kaneshiro.

Maui County has nine council seats, and five of them only had two contenders in the primary election who automatically advance to the general election. Four of five incumbents are in this group.

For the Hawaii County Council with nine district seats, there were no challengers to the incumbent for two seats.

In the other seven contests, the top two vote- getters advance to the general election unless one person gets more than half the vote total. Three incumbents won outright on Saturday — Valerie Poindexter, Aaron Chung and Maile David. Also in a position to win outright were Ashley Kierkiewicz and Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder in contests where there were no incumbents.

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

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