Big Isle race for
mayor as Republican
The longtime Civil DefenseHerkes resigns post with Kamehameha By Rod Thompson
chief had mostly avoided politics
Big Island correspondent
HILO -- Harry Kim is running for Big Island mayor.
The recently retired Hawaii County Civil Defense director ended months of uncertainty, including in his own mind, when he took out papers yesterday. He made no formal announcement but confirmed he will file the papers as a Republican.
"I'm a little Democrat, a little Republican, a little Green, a little independent, and a little disappointed in government," he said.
As Civil Defense chief, Kim created a 24-year presence, the calm voice on the radio advising citizens how to deal with the latest public crisis.
His only dabbling in politics was his support of Democratic mayoral candidate Lorraine Inouye in 1990 when she seemed to represent limited growth.
Beyond that, he fought successfully for strict controls on geothermal development, and made personal warnings about a spaceport and a nuclear isotope-based fruit treatment plant, which were not built.
The longtime operator of a kim chee business, Kim said, "Of course I want economic growth," but with strict controls.
Before he can run, Kim leaves Sunday for Honduras, requested by the federal government to help that Central American country set up an emergency response system.
When he returns after "just a few days," he will run hard, going house to house and waving signs, but will not accept any money or any help, he said. If he makes it through the Republican primary, he might hold a fund-raiser accepting a maximum of $10 per person in contributions.
If elected, he would make appointments without regard to party, he said.
Kim's chief opponent in the Republican primary is Democrat-turned-Republican Harvey Tajiri.
"It puts Tajiri in a difficult spot," said retired University of Hawaii-Hilo political science professor Jim Wang.
Kim's nonpolitical past will put him above other candidates in some voters' minds, Wang said. His refusal to accept money will be a "good pitch," he said.
Tajiri shrugged off Kim's candidacy. "We're just going to keep doing what we're doing," he said.
"If the issue is the economy, I bring the best record and the best performance," he said, referring to more than a dozen successful businesses he has owned.
Tajiri said he can also bring people together, referring to major development he fostered at the Kilauea Industrial Area Association and creation of the UH-Hilo Volcano Boosters.
Beyond the Republican primary, which includes frequent candidate Wendel Kaehuaea and three other potential candidates, the winner faces a vote-splitting race with strong Democrat and Green candidates.
Confirmed Democrats running are state Rep. Bob Herkes and physician Fred Holschuh, with three other Democratic contenders possible.
Former County Councilwoman Keiko Bonk, thought unopposed for the Green nomination and still a strong candidate, now faces Green newcomer Darryl Wheat.
Also running will be nonpartisan Jonathan Adler and possibly other nonpartisan and Aloha Aina candidates.
Big Island mayoral candidates, confirmed and potential:
Race draws a crowd
Aloha AinaChris Bertelmann, took out papers
DemocratFrank Enos, took out papers
Robert Herkes, state representative, filed
Frederick Holschuh, physician, filed
Aileen Kuamoo, took out papers
Gery Navarro, took out papers
GreenKeiko Bonk, former Councilwoman, filed
Darryl Wheat, filed
NonpartisanJonathan Adler, hemp advocate, filed
Frank Enos, took out papers (also took out Democrat papers)
Keith Nakao, filed
Michael Peacock, took out papers
RepublicanStuart Gregory, took out papers
Wendell Kaehuaea, businessman and university student, filed
Harry Kim, retired Civil Defense chief, took out papers
Myron Nachbar II, took out papers
Daniel Roudebush, took out papers
Harvey Tajiri, businessman and former legislator, filed
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KAILUA-KONA -- Big Island Democratic mayoral candidate Robert Herkes has announced his resignation as vice president and general manager of Kamehameha Schools' Keauhou Resort to campaign full time.
Herkes resigns post
Herkes has been a member of the state House of Representatives since 1992 and previously served in the Senate and on the Hawaii County Council. He has worked at Keauhou Resort since 1986.
He faces physician Fred Holschuh in the Democratic primary.