LIHUE — Patricia Wistinghausen, member of the Kauai Young Democrats, says the District 14 House of Representatives race is one to watch.
“It’s important because there’s no incumbent. There’s only three candidates, and none of them has to fight against someone who has already been in the seat,” she said. “It’s an exciting race, and it’s a rare one for people to participate in.”
The three candidates for District 14, which covers Haena to Wailua Houselots, are Nadine Nakamura, Fern Rosenstiel, both Democrats, and Sandi Combs, who is running as a Republican.
The primary election on Saturday will determine if Nakamura or Rosenstiel will join Combs in the general election in November.
“The primaries are important because I think people don’t always understand if there’s multiple Democrats and Republicans running, only one goes through,” Wistinghausen said. “People should vote in the primaries because it will determine who their candidates are.”
Other races to watch are for the prosecuting attorney and the state Senate seat, Wistinghausen said.
Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar is being challenged by Lisa Arin.
State Senator Ron Kouchi, who is also Senate president, faces a challenge from Kanoe Ahuna.
Rep. Jimmy Tokioka faces a challenge from Thomas Oi for the District 15 seat.
While all 13 county council candidates — seven incumbents, six challengers — will make it through to the general election, how they do in the primaries may affect whether candidates continue or drop out of the race, Wistinghausen added.
A key addition to the race is Derek Kawakami, who gave up his seat in the state House of Representatives to run for county council.
“It’s an exciting election time, and it’ll be neat to see where things go,” she said.
Voter turn out for the primaries will be important, said Aria Juliet, president of Kauai Young Democrats.
“We had a huge influx of new voters reinvigorated because of the presidential preference poll in March, and I am excited to see if that energy and enthusiasm that came out of it still exists,” she said.
Throughout the election season, both on Kauai, and nationally, Juliet says she’s noticed a fair amount of young people running for office.
The primary election will take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.