UPDATE: HAWAI‘I ELECTIONS 2018: Who’s Running for What?

July 28, 2018, 1:15 PM HST (Updated July 31, 2018, 2:04 PM)

UPDATE: Corrections are indicated in bold type

Hawai`i’s 2018 election season is well under way, with the state’s open primary election set for Aug. 11 and the general election slated for Nov. 6.

Primary battles on the Big Island can take on special significance, especially in the case of Hawai`i County Council contests.

Due to the non-partisan structure of council primary battles, if a single candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, he or she is automatically deemed “elected to office,” with no general election vote being taken thereafter.


The same rules apply to the positions of Hawai`i County’s mayor and prosecuting attorney, though those positions are not up for reelection this year.

Statewide elections have a more standard single-winner structure, with primary victors traditionally facing off against each other on the Nov. 6 ballot.

With 13 candidates running for the office of governor alone, Big Island Now is offering a summary for each of the positions up for grabs this primary season.


For polling place locations on Hawai‘i Island, go online.

D=Democrat  GP=Green Party  I=Independent  L=Libertarian
NP=Non-Partisan  R=Republican

U.S. Senate
There are 12 candidates running for this seat.

Incumbent Mazie Hirono (D)
Consuelo Anderson of Honolulu (R)
George Berish of Honolulu (R)
Ron Curtis of Honolulu (R)
Rocky De La Fuente of San Diego (R)
Charles Haverty of Honolulu (NP)
Robert Helsham of Honolulu (R)
Michael Hodgkiss of Oceanview (Rep)
Matthew Maertens of Ewa Beach (NP)
Eddie Pirkowski of Kihei (R)
Arturo Reyes of Waipahu (NP)
Thomas White of Honolulu (R)

U.S. Representative, District 2

Democratic Incumbent Rep. Tulsi Gabbard faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Tony Austin of Kaneohe and Sherry Campagna of Honolulu, while Brian Evans of Kīhei is the sole Republican running in this year’s primary battle.

This year’s governor’s race is bursting at the seams with candidates, with no less than 12 residents running against each other and incumbent Democratic Gov. David Ige in the primary.

Selina Blackwell of Lahaina (NP)
Jim Brewer of Honolulu (GP)
Ernest Carvalho of Honolulu (D)
John Carroll of Honolulu (R)
Colleen Hanabusa of Honolulu (D)
Wendell Ka‘ehu‘ae‘a of Hilo (D)
Richard Kim of Honolulu (D)
Ray Lheureux of Honolulu (R)
Link El of Honolulu (NP)
Van Tanabe of Pearl City (D)
Terrence Teruya of Honolulu (NP)
Andria Tupola of Honolulu (R)

Lieutenant Governor
With current Lt. Gov. Doug Chin running for O‘ahu’s First Congressional seat, 11 candidates are currently battling to replace him.

Bernard Carvalho of Līhue (D)
Will Espero of Ewa Beach (D)
Josh Green of Kailua-Kona (D)
Renee Ing of Honolulu (GP)
Kim Iwamoto of Honolulu (D)
Marissa Kerns of Kapolei (R)
Steve Lipscomb of Honolulu (R)
Jeremy Low of Honoululu (R)
Ernest Magaoay of Honolulu (NP)
Paul Robotti of Honolulu NP)
Jill Tokuda of Kaneohe (D)

State Senate District I

Kimberly Arianoff (L) and Kaiali`i Kahele (D), both of Hilo, are each running in Hawai`i’s primary election unopposed by in-party challengers.

State Senate District 3

This seat opened up when current state Sen. Josh Green of Kailua-Kona took aim at the lieutenant governorship. Brenda Ford of Captain Cook and Dru Kanuha of Kailua-Kona face off on the Democratic ticket, while Michael Last of Na‘alehu is the sole Libertarian running for the seat.

State Senate District 4

Incumbent State Sen. Lorraine Inouye faces off against fellow Democratic candidate Heather Kimball of Papaikou.

State Representative District 1

Incumbent State Rep. Mark Nakashima of Honoka‘a will battle fellow Democrat Koohan Paik-Mander of Honoka‘a.

State Representative District 2

Republicans Bryan Feste of Kea‘au and Grace Manipol-Larson of Hilo will face each other in the primary, while Democratic candidates Terri Napeahi and Christopher Todd of Hilo will also vie for their party’s nomination.

State Representative District 3

Richard Onishi (incumbent Democrat from Hilo) is being challenged by fellow Democrat Raina Whiting of Pahala. Libertarian Fred Fogel of Volcano is running unopposed on his party’s ticket.

State Representative District 4

Democrat Joy SanBuenaventura of Kea‘au is running entirely unopposed.

State Representative District 5

Incumbent Richard Creagan of Na‘alehu (D)

Jeanne Kapela of Captain Cook (D)
Gene Leslie of Captain Cook (D)

State Representative District 6

Incumbent Democrat Nicole Lowen (D) of Kailua-Kona has no opponents this year.

State Representative District 7

Incumbent Democratic Representative Cindy Evans of Kamuela is being challenged by Republican Tom Belekanich of Waikoloa and David Tarnas of Kamuela.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) At-Large Trustee

As has become customary in Hawai‘i politics, a surge of candidates has stepped forward. All candidates are deemed non-partisan for the purposes of the election.

Isa Ahu of Honolulu
William Aila Jr. of Waianae
Rowena Akana of Honolulu
Alvin Akina of Kailua-Kona
C. Kaui Amsterdam of Honolulu
Faye Hanohano of Pahoa
Brendon Lee of Honolulu
Keali`i Makekau of Honolulu
Marc Pa‘aluhi of Waianae
Landen Paikai of Kaneohe
Makana Paris of Honolulu
Kali Pu‘uohau of Honolulu
Pohai Ryan of Kailua
Lei Sharsh-Davis of Aiea
John Waihe‘e of Honolulu

Hawai‘i County Council

Hawai`i County Council members run in special non-partisan elections.

District 1: Valerie Poindexter of O‘okala and Abolghassem Sadegh of Hilo

District 2: Aaron Chung and William Halversen of Hilo

District 3: Susan Lee Loy of Hilo

District 4: Eileen Ohara of Pāhoa and Ashley Kierkiewicz of Kea‘au

District 5: Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder of Hilo and Frederic Wirick of Kea‘au

District 6: Richard Abbett of Na‘alehu, Maile David of Captain Cook and Yumi Kawano of Volcano

District 7: Kelly Drysdale of Keahou, Bronsten Kossow of Kailua Kona, Cynthia Nazara of Kailua-Kona and Rebecca Villegas of Kailua-Kona

District 8: Karen Eoff of Kailua-Kona

District 9: Maya Parish of Kapa‘au and Herbert Richards of Kamuela

Nate Gaddis
A former journalist born on the Big Island, Nate Gaddis began his career in real estate designing marketing campaigns for complex estate properties. Now a full-time agent at Elite Pacific Properties, he has combined a deep knowledge of the islands with his strategic marketing skills to help navigate the sale and purchase of Hawaiian real estate, including some of the largest transactions in East Hawai‘i's history. He currently writes guest columns covering land use, politics and popular culture.


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