LIHUE — The race for the Kauai prosecutor’s office hit a milestone Saturday when the incumbent took a significant lead against his challenger.
Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar, with several members of his staff, friends and his extended ohana stood around a piece of brown paper taped to the wall at Niumalu, where he was hosting a primary election party. Kollar scribbled numbers on the paper.
As results starting trickling in, prosecutors from Kollar’s camp caught their breaths.
“I can sleep again,” said deputy prosecutor George White, laughing. “I’ve had insomnia for the past two nights.”
Everyone at Kollar’s event had smiles on their faces, drinks in hand and were ready for a long night of celebration in front of the water.
“I am feeling humbled and grateful,” Kollar told The Garden Island. “I am not worried because I get to work with an amazing group of people and serve this community. I do this job because despite all of the challenges and the stresses and the difficult things we have to deal with, I get to do really good stuff and that’s a good feeling.”
Kollar said he’s tried to build a strong staff at the Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, and he’s proud to be their boss.
“I think over the past couple of years, we have put together the nucleus of really strong team and if we get four more years it’s going to do really amazing things for this community,” Kollar said.
But he said there are things he could improve.
“The community wants to see candidates out and about and I am happy to be part of that. I am looking forward to it,” he said. “And again this is an opportunity that I never dreamed that I would have, so I am trying to make the most of it.”
Meanwhile at the Lisa Arin camp, where more than 50 supporters were watching results come in at the United Public Workers building on Rice Street, everyone was feeling cheerful.
“Coming into a room with my supporters and sharing this moment with them makes me feel very happy,” Arin said. “I want to do this job for these people, to keep their families safe and to make sure they are treated fairly in the criminal justice system. And to give them a leader where they never have to doubt their motives. They can trust me.”
Arin campaign manager Mark Ozaki said Arin is the most qualified to be prosecutor.
“We feel good about the campaign we’ve been running,” Ozaki said. “We’ve been running an honest and clean campaign. We are really positive. I think people that we speak to and the feedback that we get is that they really like the positivity. We feel comfortable with that right now.”
Ozaki said no matter what the result is in the primary election, they are looking toward the general election.
“We got really great people supporting and back us throughout the whole island,” Ozaki said. “I think we are right on track, whether we’re behind or ahead or whether we are even. I think we have momentum. I think we are going to ride that momentum to the general election and hopefully we can pull it off.”