LIHUE — Hawaii State Sen. Ron Kouchi garnered more than half of the votes in the primary election.
As of 9 p.m. Saturday, 12 of the 16 precincts had been counted and the incumbent received 6,677 votes — 61.3 percent of the total. His challenger, Kanoe Ahuna, received 31.3 percent — 3,415 votes.
For Ahuna, who was seeking her first term in the State Senate, the endeavor was rewarding and a valuable learning experience.
“Tonight, we may have lost this election but there is a bigger victory that we should celebrate tonight,” Ahuna said. “I am proud that we chose to go up against an incumbent, and even prouder to have gone up against the state Senate president. In just two months, we not only went up against him but we shook up the status quo.”
Her goal was to bridge the gap between the different levels of government. Some of her focuses were to increase the budget for island lifeguard activities, lift the cap on the Transient Accommodation Cap and upgrade sewage facilities on the island.
“Given that Kanoe Ahuna was the last candidate to file her papers, had only eight weeks to campaign and less than $20,000 of campaign money from the community, we consider this a victory,” said Ahuna’s campaign manager Anna Olvera.
Kouchi said his goal for running for reelection was to keep Kauai highlighted in the national political arena. His goals for the upcoming term, should he be reelected, are to continue the momentum of connecting all Hawaii Department of Education schools to Wi-Fi, increase affordable housing, and realize the dream of the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center.
He’s also focused on providing relief for the financial pressures on Kauai County resulting from the curbed flow of TAT revenue.
Kouchi was not available for comment before press time on Saturday.