4 legislative races highlighted by Chun-Hooser battle

With only one day away from Saturday’s primary election, Kaua’i Sen. Jonathan Chun and challenger Gary Hooser say they have relied on strong campaigns to put them on the brink of victory.

In what political observers on Kaua’i say could be the closest race in this election year, because both candidates are popular, Chun and Hooser, a Kaua’i County Councilman, say both upbeat campaigns and supporters have helped them to get their political messages out to the public.

The victor will face Rosie Holt of Wailua, a Republican candidate for the state Senate seat in the Nov. 5 General Election. Holt will be running unopposed in that election.

Holt supports the creation of local school boards to bring better accountability to parents, teachers and students.

Two days before the election, Chun said he and his supporters have run a “good campaign” and have “done everything we needed to do.”

“We hit on issues and told people where we stand, and it is in the hands of those who will decide who can best represent the interest of Kaua’i,” Chun said.

On his feelings as he enters the final days of campaigning, Hooser said “we have been running a good campaign, a good campaign, and I got real good response from the community, and I am hopeful that I will be elected.”

The strength of his campaign, Chun said, has been of the “grass-roots” variety.

Hooser said “One of my biggest strengths is listening to people, hearing sides, relating before making decisions.”

His campaign unfolded smoothly from the start because of his past experience in running for the council, said Hooser, a member of the council since 1998.

“We have had a lot of people helping. There has been organizations to step forward to endorse my candidacy,” Hooser said.

Hooser has been endorsed by the Hawai’i State Teachers Association, University of Hawai’i Professional Assembly, the Sierra Club, Hawai’i Nurses Association, Carpenter’s Union Local 745 , operating engineers’ union and others.

“I am really appreciative of all of these, and it is definitely a strength,” Hooser said.

Chun said if he had to point to any weaknesses in his campaign, it is that he didn’t start his campaign any earlier.

“We were in (legislative) session back up into May, and it was a difficulty session all the way through,” said Chun, an attorney. “Maybe we should have started earlier, but we were caught up in getting the work of the legislature done.”

Hooser, president and co-founder of H&S Publishing, said he also has had a busy schedule, but has managed to maintain a steady campaign schedule.

With only one day before the election, Hooser said he and his supporters are “going to keep going with what we have been doing, talking with people, knocking on doors, getting our message out to the people.”

Hooser said there is no “silver bullet” that will bring victory for him Saturday night. “We are just gong to keep working hard and getting the message out,” he said.

Chun said his campaign has more or less produced the results he has sought, and that “We have done the best we can.”

Chun said Hooser is a worthy contender because he also is an elected official in the public eye.

“There is no incumbent in this race,” Chun said. “He is as much a public figure as I am.”

In other Kaua’i legislative races:

– Jose M. Felix-Keamoai, a resident of Hanapepe, and JoAnne Georgi, a resident of Kalaheo, will battle it out in the Republican primary for House District 16, comprised of Po’ipu, west Kaua’i and Ni’ihau.

The winner will face incumbent state House Rep. Bertha Kawakami, a Democrat and resident of Hanapepe, in the general election.

– Juan Lugo, of Lihu’e, and Dr. Harold Spear III, from East Kaua’i, will battle it out in the Republican primary for House District 15, encompassing areas in Wailua, Lihu’e, Lawai and parts of Koloa. The winner will challenge incumbent Democrat Ezra Kanoho the Nov. 5 election.

– Incumbent House Rep. Mina Morita, a Democrat and incumbent, will square off against Republican challenger Nelson Jr. Secretario, a businessman and a one-term councilman, in the general election.

Morita represents constituents in House District 14 , which includes parts of Wailua, Kapa’a and areas to the end of the road in Ha’ena.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and mailto:lchang@pulitzer.net


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