LIHUE — The incumbent Kauai state representatives won big on Tuesday night.
The celebration of the three Democrat candidates went on late at Hawaii Government Employees Association until returns from all 16 precincts were in about 10 p.m. The Republican challengers watched the results from Duke Aiona’s Kauai headquarters at Nawiliwili.
District 15 State Rep. James Tokioka won his fifth term with 5,367 votes or 67.3 percent, to defeat Republican challenger Steven Yoder, with 1,892 votes or 23.7 percent. He thanked the voters of District 15 and pledged to continue working to the best of his abilities.
“I will continue to rely on the feedback from the residents of the district that I represent,” Tokioka said. “Over the past 18 years in elected office the people have trusted me to make decisions for them and that is a great privilege and a great honor that I appreciate.”
Yoder said that as a unknown newcomer he didn’t expect to defeat the strongest of the three state representative candidates. Although he did come out with the highest percentage to the three Republican challengers, he said he expected to do better.
“I was thoroughly spanked tonight, there is no doubt about it,” Yoder said.
Yoder said he ran because Tokioka was unopposed in the 2012 election. He hoped voters would share his vision of self-reliance and fighting against dependency on government programs and encroachment into every area of our lives.
Hawaii is just a strong Democratic state like others, he said. Yet, he didn’t start his campaign until February and felt he was reaching even more people in the closing days, but said he did too much on his own.
“I need to work to develop an organization to be able to compete,” he said. “One guy can’t do it.”
With 5,320 votes or 66.8 percent, District 16 State Rep. Dee Morikawa won her third term as the Westside representative against Republican challenger Victoria Franks, who fielded 1,812 votes or 22.7 percent. She said the final numbers were a surprise and believed voters saw her as a balanced candidate who understands myriad issues.
More importantly, Morikawa said the three state representative candidates were consistent in their winning margins. This is a good sign that Kauai has a strong legislative team, she said, and with the election over they can now return to work.
“The priority is the Maui hospital, and then we will organize our leadership in the House and figure out the committees,” Morikawa said.
District 14 State Rep. Derek Kawakami won his second full term after receiving 5,617 votes, or 69.4 percent, to defeat Republican challenger Jonathan Hoomanawanui with 1,736 votes, or 21.4 percent. He celebrated with supporters and said the victory offers perspective.
“We are extremely thankful of the support that we have out there,” Kawakami said. “I want to thank everyone who gave me this tremendous opportunity to go out and do something that I have a passion for which is to serve the people of Kauai.”
Hoomanawanui put it all in perspective, saying the heavenly father has a way of doing things where there is a purpose and a cause fulfilled. He said it was a great race and is proud of the 1,726 voters who supported his effort as a newcomer on Kauai for just five years.
“I want to congratulate Derek for his win, and I hope they can see that education is important as the solution to all of our issues, and not to raise taxes so much that they force me and my family to move out of our home.”
It was too soon to think about how to become involved further in civic affairs, he said. For now, he has to return to work at the Liquor Control Department.