Voters should prepare by reviewing candidate information
Voters will decide today on primary and nonpartisan election contests across the state.
NEARLY all attention today at most voting polls on Oahu will be focused on the mayoral race, but voters should prepare to vote on candidates for other races without relying on name recognition. Mayor Mufi Hannemann merits re-election and candidates for other offices deserve voter scrutiny based on information available online.
The Star-Bulletin endorsed Hannemann two weeks ago with the knowledge that his second term in Honolulu Hale is likely to end in two years, when higher offices in Washington or the governor's office might beckon. Barring unforeseen events, Hannemann is almost certain to run for another post.
Hannemann needs and should receive more than 50 percent of today's vote to avoid a runoff between the top two candidates for the nonpartisan job. The main alternative candidates are opposed to Hannemann's rail transit system, which is necessary as an alternative to the growing traffic congestion between Kapolei and Honolulu's urban center. Derailment of the plans at this point would be a death knell for it and any comparable transit system.
While the rail system is the elephant in the voting booth, Hannemann deserves credit for expansion of the curbside recycling program, plans for expanding the H-Power garbage-to-energy plant, upgrading of Honolulu's sewage system and the mundane but necessary chore of filling potholes.
Most primary elections for the state Legislature are uncontested, and some involve only token opposition to the frontrunner. All incumbent state representatives seeking re-election are expected to retain their seats.
The most competitive Senate races appear to be between Rep. Josh Green and former County Councilwoman Virginia Isbell in the Democratic primary in a Big Island district, and incumbent Sen. Clarence Nishihara and Rep. Alex Sonson in Waipahu, with the winner facing no opposition in the general election.
A two-man race between City Councilman Todd Apo and Garry Smith, a retired Navy commander and mechanical engineer, will decide the winner of that seat. Incumbents Barbara Marshall, Romy Cachola and Nestor Garcia will need at least one vote more than 50 percent in their three-way races to retain their nonpartisan Council seats.
Before going to the polls, voters should review candidates' backgrounds and what they think qualifies them for the positions they seek (posted online at starbulletin.com). Also, profiles of five state Board of Education incumbents seeking re-election and 13 opposing candidates, along with their answers to various questions, are posted at TheLearningCoalition.org, the Web site of a nonpartisan group formed to encourage growth of successful Hawaii school programs.
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