Newcomer leads top race


POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rarely can a political neophyte running for his first elected seat be considered the incumbent or “;status quo”; candidate, especially when running against a former mayor with 30 years' experience in local politics.

But such is the case in the Kauai mayoral election, where Bernard Carvalho, the county parks and recreation director, is pitted against Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura.

Carvalho and Yukimura are running to complete the final two years of the term of Bryan Baptiste, who died of a heart attack this summer.

Carvalho, said to be the hand-picked successor to Baptiste, filed his nomination papers with Baptiste's family in tow and has received major contributions from at least a half-dozen county employees.

Yukimura, meanwhile, is trying to become mayor for the second time, having served six years in the top job between 1988 and 1994. She is running on her experience, which includes seven terms on the County Council, beginning in 1976.

Carvalho, meanwhile, is running on his stated ability to bring people together to find solutions.

Carvalho received more than 40 percent of the vote in the primary; Yukimura finished with 30 percent.

Third-place finisher Councilman Mel Rapozo, who finished with 24 percent of the vote, and Rolf Beiber, who finished fourth, have yet to throw their support behind either candidate.

The vacancies left on the Council by Rapozo, Yukimura and new county Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho will go to relative newcomers.

Incumbents led the way in the primary, with the top four spots taken, followed by Daryl Kaneshiro, a former councilman put back on the Council when Bill “;Kaipo”; Asing stepped in temporarily as mayor after Baptiste's death.

They were followed by Derek Kawakami, general manager of Big Save Inc.; television personality Dickie Chang; and librarian Lani Kawahara in the primary race.