Incumbent Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim lost his bid for a fourth term as county prosecutor Mitch Roth and community leader Ikaika Marzo took the top two spots in the mayoral race in the 2020 primary election.
In the state’s first all-mail-in vote, Roth garnered the most votes at 19,449, followed by Marzo with 12,893 votes and Kim with 9,590 votes.
Roth and Marzo will now face off in the Nov. 3 general election.
Of the final election results, Kim said, “I fully accept it.”
Roth, 55, said, he is thankful for the community who came out and voted. “This is a historic time, the most people voting in an election in a long time.”
Roth, a first-time mayoral candidate, said, “What I’ve done throughout my entire career is solve problems.”
He launched the first Community Oriented Prosecution program in the state and in Hawaii County and helped create the Pahoa Weed and Seed program, Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii Island and the Hawaii County Citizens Emergency Response Team among others. Roth also launched the first Restorative Justice Program in a prosecutor’s office in the country.
If elected mayor, Roth said his main priority is to change the philosophy of government by aiming to help the community thrive. “We want to make sure we give the community a voice.”
In recent years, Hawaii County has been walloped with the 2018 Kilauea Volcano eruption that destroyed more than 700 homes in 2018 and Hurricane Lane that caused extensive damage later that year.
Marzo, 36, gained a strong social media presence during the Kilauea Volcano eruption after he posted video of the lava as it entered Leilani Estates. He launched a community relief center dubbed “Pu‘uhonua O Puna during the 2018 Kilauea eruption.
“I had a strong presence in social media, which became a huge part of our campaign,” Marzo said. “That was a No. 1 asset for us.”
Like Roth, this is the first time Marzo is running for mayor. “We made it to the general. That was the No. 1 focus of our journey and our job continues tomorrow.”
Most recently, Kim, 80, has been at the forefront of the Big Island’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Recognizing the urgency of COVID-19 with thousands of cases reported in China in the beginning of the year, Kim was the first mayor in the state to sign an emergency order in February to prepare for the novel coronavirus.
Kim served as mayor from 2000 to 2008 and was elected to his third and current term in 2016.
Mayoral races for Maui and Kauai counties will be held in 2022.
In Hawaii County’s race for prosecuting attorney, candidate Kelden B.A. Waltjen won.
In the races for the nine-seat Hawaii County Council, the District 1 seat contained the most candidates with seven contenders. The final tally show Dominic Yagong and Heather Kimball advancing to the general election.
In the race for Maui County Council, all nine seats are up for grabs; however, four seats, for West Maui, Kahului, Makawao-Haiku-Paia and Lanai, have three or more candidates. The top two in each of those races — Tamara Paltin and Rick Nava; Tasha Kama and Carol Lee Kamekona; Mike Molina and Aja Eyre; and Gabe Johnson and Alberta De Jetley — will advance to the general election.
In Kauai County, the final election results show former mayor Benard Carvalho Jr. in the top seven with incumbents Mason Chock, Luke Evslin, Arryl Kaneshiro, KipuKai Kualii and Felicia Cowden and candidate Billy DeCosta.
The top 14 candidates in the county council race advance to the general election.
Incumbent Kauai prosecutor Justin Kollar ran unopposed in the race for the prosecutor’s seat.