Candidates fail to carry hometowns in primary

Neighborhood voting (precinct) tallies show some candidates did not even win in their hometowns.

Former County Councilmember Maurice A. “Joe” Munechika finished first on Ni’ihau, with 28 votes, one ahead of current Councilmember James K. “Kunane” Tokioka.

That marked the best finish in the county for those two. Tokioka ended in third place, and Munechika in sixth, when county-wide votes were tallied.

And candidates, especially in the crowded council race where 29 people from Waimea to Hanalei vied for 14 spots in the general election, didn’t always do well in their hometowns.

Ray Chuan is a notable exception, finishing a strong second behind Yukimura among Hanalei voters. Chuan, who lives on Aku Road in Hanalei, finished 10th overall.

Jay Furfaro finished third in his home town of Kilauea, and fifth overall, but Ray Paler, who finished 11th overall, could only muster a 16th-place finish in Kilauea. His parents used to live near Kilauea.

Eight candidates list Kapa’a addresses, and of those former Councilmember John F. Barretto, Jr. did best at Kapaa Elementary School’s polling place, finishing fifth. He was eighth overall. Mel Rapozo, who finished seventh overall, finished seventh at Kapaa Elementary.

Attorney Erick Moon, 13th overall, finished ninth at Kapa’a Elementary, and Dr. Gregory L. Smith, who finished 15th overall, was 14th at Kapaa Elementary. The results for the Kapa’a residents were similar at the three other Kapa’a polling places.

Businessman George Menor, who did best in Hanama’ulu, finishing fourth, was 12th overall, but couldn’t do any better than eighth at Kauai High School, closest to his Ulu Ko home. He placed sixth among Puhi voters, where he owns a business.

Councilmember Daryl Kaneshiro, who lives in ‘Oma’o, finished strong in Koloa and Kalaheo, ending third at all four south shore polling places. He was fourth overall, third at ‘Ele’ele and Ni’ihau, and second at Hanapepe, Waimea and Kekaha.

Businessman John Hoff, of Lawa’i, did best in Koloa, finishing sixth there. But that wasn’t enough, as he ended 16th overall and did not qualify for the general election.

Firefighter Ernie Moniz’s strongest finish was at Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, where the Kalaheo native ended fifth.

Tokioka finished third at several precincts behind fellow incumbent Bill “Kaipo” Asing and former Mayor JoAnn A. Yukimura. Asing led at 13 polling places, and was tops among the absentee walk-in and absentee mail-in votes. He tied with Yukimura with 251 votes at Koloa Neighborhood Center.

Yukimura led at eight polling places including Koloa Neighborhood Center.

Even with 29 candidates to choose from, statistics from the Office of the County Clerk Elections Division show that 25 percent of those voting in the County Council race voted for fewer than seven candidates, called “under voting.”

Since each voter is allowed to vote for up to seven council candidates, those who voted for less than seven had their remaining votes pooled into a large number, 32,809, of under votes.

By contrast, Asing had 10,837 votes, and Yukimura had 10,553.

Among the mayoral candidates, County Council Chair Ron Kouchi crushed fellow Councilmember and Council Vice Chair Bryan Baptiste on Ni’ihau, 32 to three, and held slight leads over Baptiste among walk-in and mail-in absentee voters.

Baptiste won more precincts outright, 13 to eight, but Kouchi was a close-enough second at most polling places to ensure a very tight finish, with only 437 votes separating the two candidates county-wide. Baptiste ended with 7,043 votes to 6,606 for Kouchi.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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