LIHUE — Felicia Cowden’s campaign party was over by the time she found out she snagged the last seat on the Kauai County Council.
She and her team were at the tail end of cleaning up banners and saying goodbye in the parking lot of The Bistro in Kilauea Tuesday night when the third printout came out and Cowden jumped from number 11 from the second printout to number seven.
That final count added more than 4,000 votes to her total, but Cowden wasn’t surprised.
“I always do the best in the last count because that’s when they count the walk-in votes from the side of the island where I live,” Cowden said. “I’ve run twice and in each primary and each general (election), I always do the best in the last count.”
She continued: “I was happy regardless, but I was hopeful.”
With all 16 precincts reporting in, Councilmember Mason Chock led with 12,059 votes, followed by Councilmember Arryl Kaneshiro, 11,901; Luke Evslin, 11,682; Councilmember Ross Kagawa, 10,103; former Councilmember KipuKai Kuali‘i, 9,825; Councilmember Arthur Brun, 8,830; and Cowden, 7,891.
There was some discussion about who would land in that seventh seat on the council throughout the night Tuesday.
Finishing a close eighth was Milo Spindt, 7,668; then Juno Ann Apalla, 7,614; Billy De Costa, 7,200; Norma Doctor Sparks, 6,986; Adam Roversi, 6,004; Shaylene Iseri, 5,365; and Kanoe Ahuna, 5,037.
The winners will serve two-year terms.
Cowden said her advantage is that she can use nearly all of her time to focus on council activities, she’s passionate and enthusiastic, and knows she can “work with the team the voters have chosen.”
“My children are grown and I don’t have another job that demands my time,” she said. “I have all kinds of ideas that I’m excited about that I think will be easy to share with the rest of the team, ideas that have multiple wins.”
Spindt was holding down that seventh spot through the second printout with 5,331 votes.
The last count pushed Cowden to the seventh spot and Spindt to eighth — and out of a council seat.
“Overall, I’m disappointed that I didn’t make it in, but I’m proud of my team and my supporters and I’m in a good place,” he said. “I was number 12 in the primaries, so to come from 12 to eighth was a huge jump.”
It was Spindt’s first time running for Kauai County Council and he said he’s encouraged the campaign did so well without name recognition.
“After the primary they (Spindt’s team and supporters) stuck with me and we got a great result,” Spindt said.
Spindt and other candidates said their campaigns were hard work and Spindt said he was feeling it after the general election.
“It is going to take a little time before I start thinking about the next run,” he said.
The new council takes their place Wednesday, Dec. 5.
“I’m up to speed on a lot,” Cowden said, “but there’s always more to learn. I’ll be using this month getting even more prepared.”
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.