The leading vote-getters in the primary election race for the seven Kaua‘i County Council seats were shuffled some when the results were broken down in a precinct-by-precinct analysis yesterday, but the 15th District still put the three most senior incumbents at the top of the list.
Lihu‘e resident Bill “Kaipo” Asing, a long-time councilman who stepped down as chair this summer to temporarily serve as mayor when Bryan Baptiste unexpectedly died in office, won four of the district’s five precincts, which run from Koloa on the South Shore to Kapa‘a on the Eastside.
Wailua resident Councilman Tim Bynum, seeking his second two-year term, won the Kapa‘a Middle School precinct with 493 votes on Saturday. But despite his receiving the third most votes overall, he finished fifth in the district with 2,669 votes after receiving lower marks in Lihu‘e and Koloa.
Council Chair Jay Furfaro, who is running for his fourth term, was the district’s top vote-getter. The Princeville resident overcame the margin by collecting the most absentee votes, ending with 3,377 total votes in the district and the most islandwide.
First-time candidate Derek Kawakami, who finished sixth overall in the primary, received more support from the 15th District than he did in the 14th District, which includes five precincts stretching from northern Kapa‘a to Hanalei.
The Kapa‘a resident secured 2,725 votes in the 15th District, the fourth highest. His strongest numbers came from absentee votes and the War Memorial Convention Hall precinct where 289 voters cast ballots for him, helping him make up an eighth place finish with 242 votes in the precinct voting at Kapa‘a Middle School.
Councilman Ron Kouchi, who finished fourth overall, received the third most votes in the 15th District with 2,847 ballots marking his name. The Lihu‘e resident found the most support in the precincts nearest his home, pulling in 300 votes at the War Memorial Convention Hall and 264 at King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School in Hanama‘ulu — the third most at both sites.
First-time candidate Dickie “Wala‘au” Chang of Lihu‘e received 2,666 votes in the district, enough for the seventh slot which is where he finished overall. In his best showing he captured 377 votes at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School precinct, where he finished second to Asing.
The eighth through 14th highest vote-getters maintained their overall positions in the district, sliding up or down a slot or two by precinct. The primary election trimmed the 22-candidate field by eight.
In the 15th District, 2,514 votes separate Furfaro from Kekaha resident Bruce Pleas, who just made the cutoff to advance to the general election Nov. 4.
The primary slashed the field of candidates running for mayor in half, with Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura just making the cutoff to face top overall vote-getter Bernard Carvalho, who is on an extended leave of absence from his post as county Parks and Recreation director while he runs his campaign.
Carvalho, of Kapa‘a, won four of the five precincts in the 15th District, with Yukimura, of Lihu‘e, edging him out by nine votes in the Koloa Neighborhood Center precinct.
However, Councilman Mel Rapozo of Lihu‘e, who finished third overall and in the district, topped Yukimura in the same four precincts Carvalho won. In addition to leading in Koloa, she made up the margin by winning more absentee votes.
It remains to be seen who will receive the primary votes that were cast for Rapozo and political newcomer Rolf Bieber of Kapa‘a.
With 39 days until the general election, the candidates are jostling to garner the support needed to be elected to office.
“Even though the turnout was disappointingly low, on the other hand Kaua‘i was stronger than the rest of the state,” state Sen. Gary Hooser, D-Kaua‘i/Ni‘ihau, said yesterday, referring to the primary election last weekend.
He said he expects the turnout at the General Election to be “very large.”
For complete election results, visit hawaii.gov/elections
See an upcoming edition of The Garden Island for a primary breakdown of the 16th District.
Total 15th District votes for the top 14 Kaua‘i County
Council candidates in the primary election Saturday:
(1) Furfaro 3,377
(2) Asing 3,350
(4) Kouchi 2,847
(6) Kawakami 2,725
(3) Bynum 2,669
(7) Chang 2,666
(5) Kaneshiro 2,599
(8) Kawahara 2,174
(9) Kuali‘i 1,722
(10) Agor 1,705
(11) Kealoha 1,414
(12) Thronas Jr. 1,313
(13) Libre 1,064
(14) Pleas 863
Total 15th District votes for the four Kaua‘i mayoral candidates in the primary election Saturday:
(1) Carvalho 2,648
(2) Yukimura 1,864
(3) Rapozo 1,714
(4) Bieber 235
Source: State Office