Election races take shape on neighbor isles
Kauai and Maui mayors face competition while two Hawaii County Council members get free rides as candidates met yesterday's filing deadline for the Sept. 23 primary election.
On Maui, incumbent Mayor Alan Arakawa faces eight challengers in a nonpartisan primary, including former Mayor James "Kimo" Apana and Council members Charmaine Tavares and Dain Kane.
Apana lost a close 2002 general election to Arakawa.
Kane once served as Council chairman, and Tavares is the daughter of the late Republican Mayor Hannibal Tavares.
Under the County Charter, the two top vote-getters for mayor will advance to the general election.
Other mayoral candidates are Hana community activist John Blumer-Buell; veterans rights advocate William F. Stroud; real estate agent Harold "Hap" Miller; trucking operator Nelson Waikiki Jr.; and self-described Hawaiian princess Lehuanani Aquino.
Maui Council members G. Riki Hokama of Lanai, Danny Mateo of Molokai, and Michelle A. Anderson of South Maui are running unopposed and will return to their seats.
Paul F. Fasi, son of former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi, is seeking the nonincumbent Upcountry council seat and running against retired Maui Economic Opportunity official Gladys Baisa. Fasi is recycling his father's "shaka" signs.
In the Kauai County race for mayor, incumbent Bryan Baptiste will be running against five candidates.
Jesse Fukushima, who served as councilman from 1981 to 1996, was the first to file to run against Baptiste. He is joined by government watchdog Bruce Pleas from Kekaha; substitute school teacher John Hoff; real estate agent Eric Toulon of Kalaheo; and Janee Taylor of Koloa.
In the Kauai County Council race, 15 candidates, including six incumbents, will vie for seven spots.
The lone incumbent not returning, James Tokioka, is running for the state House seat vacated by Ezra Kanoho.
But former County Council Chairman Ron Kouchi is seeking a return to the Council after unsuccessfully running for mayor four years ago. He also served on Kauai's electric cooperative's board of directors until earlier this year.
Of the 15 candidates, three are former Kauai Police Department officers: incumbent Mel Rapozo, former police chief K.C. Lum and recent retiree Joseph Kaauwai. On the Big Island, two County Council incumbents, Donald Ikeda in Hilo (District 2) and Angel Pilago in North Kona (District 8), have no challengers.
The busiest race is in lower Puna (District 5), where former Chairman Gary Safarik is being challenged by Roger Evans, Emily Naeole, Russell Ruderman and Kaniu Stocksdale. Only slightly less busy is central Kona (District 7), where Virginia Isbell faces David Basque, Brenda Ford and Lei Kihoi.
In Hilo (District 4), Chairman Stacy Higa will face Justin Avery and Wendell Kaehuaea. In District 3, from Hilo into Puna, Paula Helfrich and J Yoshimoto will vie for the seat being vacated by former chairman Jimmy Arakaki.
Fred Holschuh faces former Councilman Dominic Yagong in Hamakua (District 1); Bob Jacobson faces Gerald Holleman in upper Puna-Kau (District 6); and former Councilman Leningrad Elarionoff, along with newcomer Christopher Thomason, will face incumbent Pete Hoffmann in north and south Kohala (District 9).