Primary results boost Kobayashi's supporters even though Hannemann won her Manoa district
City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi pulled off an unexpected success in Saturday's primary election, giving her campaign a recent boost in interest and hope, though results show that she was missing support from her own district of Manoa.
Hannemann was 991 votes short of winning the race outright, re energizing the Kobayashi campaign.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann won five of the six precincts in Manoa and early absentee voting, according to final polling results. Hannemann received 2,765 votes, or about 43 percent of the votes in Manoa, over Kobayashi's 35 percent totaling 2,262 votes.
"I know the mayor has been concentrating in Manoa and has gotten (state Rep.) Kirk Caldwell to help him," Kobayashi said yesterday. "We have other districts to contend with where I'm not as well-known. We're trying to get out there in every community."
Hannemann, who promised a more aggressive campaign compared to his laid-back approach before the primary, was sign-waving in Manoa yesterday.
"We campaigned there just as hard as other districts," said A.J. Halagao, Hannemann's campaign coordinator. "The fact that he was able to defeat Ann Kobayashi in her own back yard, I think, is a testament to the hard work of Mayor Hannemann and his team."
Detailed results show Hannemann did well in most parts of the island, including the Leeward Coast, which typically supports him. However, that support wasn't enough to make up for the lack of votes in his weaker support areas, such as East Oahu, to carry him over the 50 percent of votes he needed to end the race Saturday.
"The energy, the excitement, the enthusiasm is with Ann," said City Councilman Charles Djou, a Kobayashi supporter and a vocal Hannemann critic. "It was a huge letdown for Mufi Hannemann and huge push for Ann."
State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who had encouraged Kobayashi to run for mayor, said people will now start taking Kobayashi seriously as she faces off with Hannemann in the general election.
Kobayashi has had a late start in her campaign for mayor after filing on the last day possible in July with little funds compared to Hannemann, who raised about $3 million in his re-election campaign.
"I think, before, people were holding back," Djou said. "Saturday night proved that she is very competitive and I think campaign contributions will begin to flow her way."
Kobayashi, who has spent most of the funds raised before the primary election, said her campaign is planning a fundraiser soon.
Meanwhile, both campaigns will try to capture supporters of University of Hawaii at Manoa engineering professor Panos Prevedouros, who came in third in the race after receiving just 17 percent, or 28,782 votes.
Many of Prevedouros' supporters, who are critics of Hannemann's proposed $4 billion rail transit system, will likely go to Kobayashi.
Kobayashi supports a mass-transit system, unlike Prevedouros, but said she prefers a rubber-tire bus system. Kobayashi said she would support Hannemann's selection of a steel-rail system if voters approve a proposed City Charter amendment up for a vote in November.
Cliff Slater, who encouraged Prevedouros to run for mayor, said he would likely shift his support to Kobayashi because her views on rail transit are more aligned with those of Prevedouros.
Halagao said Hannemann will try to appeal to Prevedouros supporters on other issues, including the declining economy and the environment.