Dwight Takamine hopes to extend his family legacy with a Senate seat, but foe Ted Hong is formidable


POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

HILO » In legislative races in Hamakua north of Hilo, the heavyweight name is Takamine. Dwight Takamine has served in the House of Representatives from 1984 to the present. His father, Yoshito, served from 1959 to 1984.

Now Democrat Dwight Takamine is seeking to move to the vacant Senate post that stretches from Hilo through Hamakua to the top of the island. Lawyer Takamine is being challenged by lawyer Ted Hong, a Republican, former regent of the University of Hawaii and former state labor negotiator.

“;My opponent has been in office for 24 years,”; Hong said. “;This is the education system we have. This is the economy we have. This is the agricultural system we have. It's shameful.”;

Takamine responded simply that he is taking nothing for granted. His Web site shows more than $250 million he has brought to the Big Island.

In the vacant Hamakua House race, teachers union representative and Democrat Mark Nakashima wants to replace Takamine but is being challenged by County Council aide and Republican Steven Offenbaker.

In Hilo, incumbent Democrat Clifton Tsuji faces challenger Republican Deirdre Tavares.

In lower Puna, incumbent Democrat Faye Hanohano is being challenged by Republican Fred Blas.

In North Kona, Democrat Denny Coffman and Republican Andy Smith are vying for the vacant seat.