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Maui’s Mike Victorino and Kauai’s Derek Kawakami win mayoral races


Two experienced county councilmen will take over as mayors of Kauai and Maui after victories in Tuesday’s general election.

Derek Kawakami, a Kauai County Council member, beat Council Chairman Mel Rapozo with 16,797 votes to 7,969 votes with all or nearly all votes counted.

On Maui, former councilman Mike Victorino defeated Councilwoman Elle Cochran with 26,531 votes to 21,446 votes in the same tally.

Victorino and Kawakami are set to replace incumbent mayors who are finishing their second consecutive four-year term and cannot serve a third because of limits.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is running to join the Maui County Council, but he was badly trailing his competitor. Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. sought to become lieutenant governor but finished in third place among Democrats behind state Sens. Josh Green and Jill Tokuda.

Victorino, an insurance company executive and father to recently retired professional Major League Baseball star Shane Victorino, had spent 10 years on the Maui County Council and left in 2016 after maxing out his term limit.

Kawakami served on the Kauai County Council from 2008 to mid-2011, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie to the state House of Representatives. Kawakami then returned to the County Council in 2016.

Races for council seats on the two neighbor islands along with Hawaii island were also decided tonight.

In the race for the 9-member Maui County Council, projected winners were Shane Sinenci (East Maui), Tamara Paltin (West Maui), Alice Lee (Wailuku), Natalie Kama (Kahului), Kelly King (South Maui), Mike Molina (Makawao-Haiku-Paia), Yuki Lei Sugimura (Upcountry), Riki Hokama (Lanai) and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez (Molokai).

Three winners — King, Sugimura and Hokama — are incumbents. Molina and Lee are former longtime Council members.

Among losers in this race were lame duck Mayor Arakawa, who was defeated by Kama. Stacy Helm Crivello, an incumbent, lost to Rawlins-Fernandez. And another incumbent, Alika Atay, lost to Lee. Atay earlier this year had an executive assistant banned from some state and county offices and was also fined by the state Campaign Spending Commission, according to Maui News reports.

In the race to serve on the 7-member Kauai County Council, a field of 14 contenders vied for seats that are not segmented by district. The seven winners include four incumbents — Arryl Kaneshiro, Mason Chock, Ross Kagawa and Arthur Brun. The other winners are Luke Evslin, KipuKai Kualii and Felicia Cowden.

For the County Council on Hawaii island, there was only one contest Tuesday because eight other seats on the nine-member council had either been decided in the primary election or were not contested. In the one position on the general election ballot, Rebecca Villegas was victorious over Kelly Drysdale to represent parts of North and South Kona.

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

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