Jon Yoshimura, state Senate District 12 candidate, watched results with supporters at campaign headquarters. With him were son Brandon, 15, Vicky Tanabe, Kyle Chock and Sean Casey.


Hanabusa loses allies
in likely power shift

4 Democratic incumbents
lose to their challengers

» State House roundup
» Waiting for results: Oahu
» Waiting for results: neighbor isle

By Crystal Kua

The balance of power in the state Senate will likely change after four allies of state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa lost the primary contest last night.

"There's going to be new faces in the Senate," said City Councilman Jon Yoshimura, who won in the Senate Democratic primary.

Final vote tallies showed senators David Matsuura of Hilo, Jonathan Chun of Kauai, Jan Yagi Buen on Maui and Bob Nakata of Windward Oahu, all Democrats, lost to their challengers. The four lawmakers came into the Senate four years ago.

"I will miss them," Hanabusa said last night from her Waianae home. "We were political allies, but we were friends more than anything else."

Hanabusa said it is difficult to tell how the senators' departures will affect the reorganization of the Senate because no one faction can organize on its own.

She also noted that at least a couple of more seats could go to Republicans, which could affect how leadership in the Senate will shape up.

The Hanabusa faction's alliance with the group headed by current Senate President Robert Bunda led to the current Senate organization.

Union opposition to the group headed by Hanabusa, a labor attorney, is seen as a factor in her friends' trailing last night.

Fellow Democratic Sen. Lorraine Inouye beat Matsuura in District 1; Melodie Aduja won over Nakata in District 23; Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser was the victor over Chun for the District 7 seat; and Buen lost to Shan Tsutsui.

In a winner-take-all match, state Rep. Willie Espero will be heading to the Legislature, but this time as a state senator for a new Senate district.

Espero emerged the winner against fellow Democrat and community leader Tesha Malama to represent the 20th Senate District, which covers Ewa, Ewa Beach and Kapolei. The newly created district was the result of the redrawing of district lines.



Makiki incumbent
battle goes to Saiki

By Crystal Kua

The redrawing of political district lines pitted lawmaker against lawmaker in a couple of heated state House Democratic primary races.

In the 22nd District, covering McCully and Moiliili, Rep. Scott Saiki captured the seat in his race with Rep. Terry Nui Yoshinaga. Saiki meets physician Christopher Kelly, a Republican, in the general election.

Saiki, an attorney, gained publicity as co-chairman of the Joint Senate-House Investigative Committee. Yoshinaga, also an attorney, became the champion of teachers in a contentious debate over the Hawaii State Teachers Association health plan.

But Saiki said that constituents in the district wanted someone to go to bat for them as he did with saving funding for the Moiliili Community Center.

Meanwhile, Rep. Roy Takumi emerged victorious over Rep. Nobu Yonamine and community leader Charles Aono to represent Pearl City in District 36. Takumi's Republican opponent in the general will be Chris Prendergast in the general election. But there was no incumbent in a four-way Democratic-only primary race for the new Waipahu, Village Park and Waikele seat in District 41. Jon Riki Karamatsu, an attorney and former assistant to Sen. Carol Fukunaga, was the winner over the other three others.

Jennifer Waihee, an attorney and the daughter of former Gov. John Waihee in her first political race, came out the winner against Sesnita Moepono in the District 27 seat, representing Liliha and Nuuanu. Republican Corinne Ching, a teacher, will also advance, beating former policeman Ken Akamine in the Republican primary for the same seat. The seat was vacated by Rep. Lei Ahu Isa, who is running for the Senate.

Political newcomer Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo was winning in the Democratic primary for the District 42 race over Rida Cabanilla. Tamayo could also be advancing to the general along with her dad, Mike Gabbard, who is running for the City Council.


Waiting for results:
Oahu Legislature

By Crystal Kua

City Councilman Jon Yoshimura fired up the barbecue and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers to take his mind off the election.

"It was therapy for me," Yoshimura said as he sat with a couple of dozen supporters at his downtown campaign headquarters on Bethel Street.

After the first printout, Yoshimura was the leader among five Democrats vying for the new Senate District 12 coastal seat, which covers Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu.

State Rep. Lei Ahu Isa, a Republican candidate in the race, went to Chinatown yesterday and bought moon cakes to celebrate the moon festival.

One of her supporters in the Chinese community bought her jung -- mochi rice wrapped in ti leaves -- for good luck.

Ahu Isa, a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party, was trailing businessman Gordon Trimble by a handful of votes after the first returns.

"Republicans don't know me," said Ahu Isa, who was with a few family members at her downtown Honolulu condominium.

She surmised that most of her core supporters probably voted in the Democratic primary. She said she also did not spend a lot of money and her opponent ran television advertisements, which can be expensive.

Both Yoshimura and Ahu Isa said it was difficult to press flesh with voters in their district, which is largely composed of condominium owners.

The first vote tallies showed Rep. Scott Saiki leading Rep. Terry Yoshinaga in the Democratic primary for the District 22 seat, covering McCully and Moiliili. The fellow state lawmakers found themselves opposing each other because of redistricting.

"We're cautiously optimistic, but we're confident because we worked really hard and we felt that the community was behind us," said Saiki, who was at his campaign headquarters at Painter's Union Hall in McCully.


Waiting for results:
Neighbor isle Legislature

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> Early in the evening, Sen. David Matsuura was feeling the stress of his race against Sen. Lorraine Inouye.

"I just want it over with!" he said with a smile on his face but exasperation in his voice.

Legislative redistricting last year had put Matsuura in the same district as fellow senator Inouye, like him a Big Isle Democratic incumbent.

The first printout came, showing Matsuura with 1,577 votes, behind Inouye's 2,092. "It's going to be a close one," he told supporters.

"It's still early," said a woman on the food serving line, and Matsuura's supporters turned from votes to food.

James Hamano had brought opihi and described how to roast them in the oven.

If opihi were votes, Inouye would have lost. "We do not have any opihi!" Inouye supporter Edna Christensen said on Inouye's food line.

But Inouye had something else. "We gained some of his supporters," Inouye said. "I think it's accessibility."

Lobbyists in the Legislature and some people back on the Big Island said they simply had a hard time contacting Matsuura during his term of service.

"I like David. I really like him," Inouye added, saying he was a tough person to campaign against.

Inouye's crowd included former Big Island Republican Chairman Walter Moe. "There are too many of my friends here," said Moe, like Inouye's husband, Vern, a flower grower. Matsuura is also a flower grower, but Moe picked Inouye. "I think she supports agriculture," he said.

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