Election Results Bring Some Surprises
By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor
Saturday’s Primary Election will bring some experienced candidates to November’s General Election, as well as some new faces to politics for Molokai representation.
In a highly anticipated race for Democratic District 7 State Senator, an office currently held by Molokai’s Lynn DeCoite, she successfully defended her seat against Molokai’s Walter Ritte. DeCoite earned 55.1 percent of votes statewide, while Ritte garnered 30.6 percent. DeCoite will appear on the general election ballot along with Republican candidate Tamara McKay, who won 65.9 percent of her party’s votes, according to the Hawaii Office of Election’s results report as of 1 pm Sunday.
“To everyone across Senate District 7 — I look forward to connecting with all of you as we move to the General Election this November and I hope to earn your trust and support,” wrote DeCoite on social media. “I’m willing to work with everyone for the betterment of our district and our state!”
In an incumbent upset, Molokai political newcomer Mahina Poepoe won the Democratic vote for District 13 State Representative, with a significant lead of 43 percent of the votes statewide, ousting incumbent Linda Ha’i Clark of Maui with 28.5 percent of votes.
“Mahalo nui, District 13! I am deeply grateful and humbled to have been chosen by the voting majority in our district as the Democratic candidate advancing to the General Election in November,” Poepoe shared on social media. “The confidence and trust you’ve placed in me as your candidate is an incredible honor, and I will not let you down.”
Poepoe will face Republican candidate Scott Adam and Nick Nikhilananda of the Green Party in the general election.
Molokai’s precinct results for Senate District 7 and Representative District 13 showed no significant deviations in voter preferences from those reflected in the statewide results.
Another incumbent politician may be losing his seat in November. Maui County mayor candidate and retired judge Richard Bissen bested incumbent Mayor Michael Victorino with 34 percent of the votes versus Victorino’s 29.8 percent in the field of eight candidates. Both will appear on the general election ballot.
In the race for Hawaii governor, current Lieutenant Governor Josh Green won the Democratic vote with 60.6 percent, trailed by Vicky Cayetano at 20.1 percent and Kai Kahele with 14.4 percent. Green will go against Republican frontrunner Duke Aiona, who won his party’s votes with 45.7 percent, and Nonpartisan candidate Keleionalani Taylor.
Winner of the Democratic party’s race for lieutenant governor, Sylvia Luke earned 33.7 percent of votes and will face Republican frontrunner Seaula Tupai, Jr. and Nonpartisan Charles Keoho.
Molokai candidate for OHA At-Large Trustee U’i Kahue-Cabanting received 1.9 percent of votes statewide and will not be moving on to the general election.
Statewide, voter turnout was low, with 39.6 percent of the 853,874 residents who are registered to vote turning in their ballots. Historically, turnout is often low for primary elections and non-presidential election years.
Molokai turnout was slightly ahead of the rest of the state.
Mana’e’s precinct had the highest voter turnout of the island’s precincts at 44.1 percent of those registered to vote actually casting their ballot. The Kaunakakai precinct followed close behind at 43 percent turnout, Ho’olehua and Kualapu’u had 41.8 percent, and in Maunaloa, 36.3 percent of registered voters turned in their ballots.
Across all Molokai precincts, in-person voting at Kaunakakai’s voter service center accounted for less than four percent of the total votes cast.
All results reported in this story were current as of 1 pm Sunday. Results continued to be updated throughout the day but later reports showed no significant changes. For complete results, visit elections.hawaii.gov/election-results.