by Joan Conrow
Though the Aug. 11 primary election won’t decide any Kaua`i County races, it will prove pivotal in determining candidates for the U.S. Senate and 2nd Congressional District seats.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the Saturday vote.
Congresswoman Mazie Hirono and former Congressman Ed Case are the Democratic front-runners in the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Akaka. Other Democratic candidates include Michael Gillespie, Art Reyes and Antonio Gimbernat. Voters in the primary will choose one to run against former Gov. Linda Lingle in the Nov. 6 general election. Lingle is expected to beat out John Carroll, Charles Collins, John Roco and Eddie Pirkowski for the GOP nomination.
The 2ndst Congressional District, which includes Kaua`i and the other Neighbor Islands, as well as rural O`ahu, will be defined by the primary election. The Democratic slate includes Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman, Hilo attorney Bob Marx and Esther Kia`aina, a veteran congressional aide and Office of Hawaiian Affairs political advocate. Kawika Crowley and Matthew DiGeronimo, meanwhile, will square off for the Republican vote, though it is expected that whomever wins the Democratic primary will be a lock for the office.
In local elections, the most closely watched race is between Justin Kollar and incumbent Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho for the non-partisan office of Prosecutor. Both will proceed to the general election.
Nine candidates have filed to run for the seven seats on the Kaua`i County Council. They include incumbents Jay Furfaro, JoAnn Yukimura, Nadine Nakamura, Tim Bynum, Dickie Chang, Mel Rapozo and KipuKai Kuali`i. Gary Hooser, a former Councilman and state Senator, is also in the race, as well as Ross Kagawa, a teacher, coach and former county worker. All will remain on the ballot for the November vote.
In state legislative races, William Georgi, a Republican, is challenging Democratic incumbent Ron Kouchi for the Kaua`i State Senate seat. Republican Troy Trujillo is running against incumbent Dee Morikawa, a Democrat, for the District 16 House of Representatives seat, which covers the Westside. Rep. Derek Kawakami and Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, both Democrats, are running unopposed.
The Hawai`i Government Employees Association (HGEA), the state’s largest union, has endorsed Hirono for Senate, Hannemann for Congress, Kouchi for Senate, Kollar for Prosecutor and Furfaro, Nakamura, Kuali`i, Rapozo, Hooser and Kagawa for Council.
The State of Hawai`i Police Officers Organization (SHOPO) endorsed Iseri-Carvalho for prosecutor.
All primary voters will also be casting ballots for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. On Kaua`i, Trustee Don Cataluna is stepping down, and 11 candidates are vying to take his place. They include Don Ahuna, Keola Worthington Alalem, Liberta Hussey Albao, Jackie Kahookele Burke, Kanai Fu Kagawa, Haunani Pacheco, Sharon Pomroy, Ronson Sahut, D. Kaliko Santos, Billy Kealamaikaihiki Swain and Leland “Radar” Yadao.
Trustee Haunani Aipoalani is being challenged for her at-large seat by Moloka`i activist Walter Ritte and O`ahu residents Keli`i Akina, Cal Lee, Lancelot Haili Lincoln and Keali`i Makekau.
Though it is too late to register for the primary, voters can still register for the Nov. 6 general election. The registration deadline is Oct. 8. For more information call 241-4800 or visit www.kauai.gov/elections, where you can register on-line.