LIHU‘E — There was some movement in the final County Council primary results released Saturday night compared to the first printout, with incumbent Luke Evslin moving into the top spot and Felicia Cowden overtaking Billy DeCosta, both incumbents, for seventh place.
“I will continue doing what I always do: commit myself full-time to read and respond to my constituents when they have needs, show up, listen, learn, and share the hard truths on complex problems that need comprehensive solutions that help us all. It is an honor to serve the people of Ni‘ihau and Kaua‘i,” said Cowden.
The final tallies for the top seven candidates are: Evslin, 9,622 votes, or 7.4% of total votes cast; incumbent Bernard Carvalho, 9,447 votes, 7.3%; former Councilmember Mel Rapozo, 8,495 votes, 6.6%; incumbent KipuKai Kuali‘i, 8,374 votes, 6.5%; former Councilmember Ross Kagawa, 7,738 votes, 6%; Dr. Addison Bulosan, 7,454 votes, 5.8%; and Cowden, 7,116 votes, 5.5%.
DeCosta finished in eighth place, just 15 votes behind Cowden, also at 5.5% of the vote.
The top 14 candidates go on to the general election in November, where seven will be elected.
The top seven finishers were all either former or current county councilmembers with the exception of newcomer chiropractor Bulosan.
“My focus is on the community coming together around supporting local, supporting small businesses, supporting ag,” said Bulosan. “The biggest thing is focusing on our local people and trying to keep people here. I’m really grateful to be part of the journey to make this island a better place for everyone.”
Bulosan ran a strong campaign for council in the 2020 election, but finished just outside of the top seven with 4.9% of the vote.
Rounding out the top 14 are Fern Anuenue Holland, Lila Balmores Metzger, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros, Rachel Secretario, Nelson Mukai and Roy Saito. They all trail eighth-place DeCosta by at least 2,500 votes.
The bottom five candidates, Jakki Nelson, Rosemarie Jauch, Jeffrey Lindner, Clint Yago and James Langtad, are eliminated from contention.
In the mayoral race, final results showed a slight dip in Mayor Derek Kawakami’s commanding lead, as his share of the vote fell from 76.6% to 73.3%, with second-place finisher and county employee Michael Roven Poai (2,093 votes, 11.3%) picking up some additional ballots late.
Though they also picked up some additional votes late, the two other mayoral challengers — self-employed handyman Mitch McPeek and former business executive Megeso-William Denis — did not make the cut and will not be moving on to the general.
In statewide races, Kaua‘i voters often differed from the other islands. In the Democratic lieutenant governor race, for instance, Kaua‘i voters picked Ikaika Anderson (4,776 votes, 33.8%) over winner Sylvia Luke (2,962 votes, 21%). Luke picked up 34% of voters statewide.
In the Democratic governor’s race, Kaua‘i voters chose Lt. Gov. Josh Green, but by a much-smaller margin than statewide, with only 45.8% of voters supporting him compared to 61.5% statewide. U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele performed much better on Kaua‘i, with 29% of the vote as opposed to 13.3% statewide.
In the Republican gubinatorial primary, Kaua‘i voters were more supportive of mixed martial artist B.J. Penn (1,454 votes, 32.9%) than statewide voters, though Penn still lost among Garden Island voters to nominee and former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (1,713 votes, 38.7%).
In the Democratic primary for Kahele’s U.S. Representative seat, Kaua‘i voters aligned with state voters, casting 7,010 ballots (49.8%) for businesswoman and former state Sen. Jill Tokuda.
If Kaua‘i’s results for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs at-large trustees three open seats had held true statewide, the state would have elected an entertainer, son of a former governor and pro football star to the OHA board.
Statewide, entertainer Brickwood Galuteria, son of former Gov. John D. Waihe‘e III John D. Waihe‘e IV and fellow incumbent Lei Ahu Isa were elected, leaving former University of Hawai‘i and Canadian Football League star Chad Owens out, in fourth place and over 4,000 votes behind Ahu Isa.
Out of 48,052 registered voters on Kaua‘i, just 18,499 (38.5%) cast ballots in the primary.
The general election is Nov. 8.
Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island