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Candidates for Election on Big Island Set

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It’s official.

As he said he would, former Big Island mayor Harry Kim has tossed his hat into the ring.

The final list of candidates for political office was posted online by the Hawaii Office of Elections at 5:15 p.m. today, and Kim, who pulled nomination papers Monday, is among seven candidates who have filed for Big Island mayor.

Kim, the popular former longtime head of the county’s Civil Defense Agency, will take on his former executive assistant and now mayor Billy Kenoi, as well as Dominic Yagong, chairman of the County Council.

Others in the mayoral race include Anne Marsh, Daniel Cunningham, Rand “Baker Tom” Walls and Sherryanne “Share” Christie, wife of Roger Christie, the head of Hilo’s THC Ministry who is in federal jail in Honolulu awaiting trial.

Since the race is nonpartisan, if no single candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the Aug. 11 primary, the top two vote-getters will face off in the Nov. 6 general election.


According to the elections office, two incumbent Big Island members of the state Legislature are unopposed, which means Democrats Clifton Tsuji in House District 3, and Cindy Evans in House District 7, have a free ride to office.

So do two candidates for the County Council which features nonpartisan races.

Neither incumbent Dennis “Fresh” Onishi in District 3 in Hilo nor newcomer Dru Kanuha in District 7 in Kona have opponents and require only a single vote in the primary to win the office.

Kanuha is one of two members of the county panel that drew up the new council boundaries who are running for the county’s legislative body. Valerie Poindexter, another member of the Redistricting Commission, is running in council District 1 which extends from North Kohala to Hilo.

Poindexter’s opponents include Eric D’Almeida, Larry Gerin, Jo Kim and Chelsea Yagong, who is seeking to replace her father on the council.


Three-term District 3 council member J Yoshimoto, who now finds himself in District 2 following the redistricting, faces three challengers including Rachel Thompson, former county clerk and state House member Ken Goodenow and county Finance Department employee Steve Wilhelm.

Donald Ikeda, the previous District 2 incumbent, is prevented by term limits from running for council again but is taking on state Senate District 1 incumbent Sen. Gil Kahele, who was appointed to the office in early 2011. Both are Democrats.

Councilman Fred Blas is seeking re-election in the realigned District 4 in lower Puna. His opponents are former council aide James Weatherford and Greggor Ilagan, who, at the age of 25, seeks to become the youngest Hawaii council member ever.

Windward Planning Commission Chairman Zendo Kern is seeking to represent the council’s District 5, which because of redistricting now includes the area around Keaau. His opponents are Steven Araujo and Liscensio “Lising” Ceredon.

Brenda Ford, the current District 7 member, is looking to return to the council in the expansive District 6 which extends from Puna through Ka‘u to South Kona. Brittany Smart, the incumbent District 6 council member, opted to run for the state House.


Ford’s opponents are Maile David, Lee McIntosh and Bradley Westervelt.

District 8 incumbent Angel Pilago is not running for re-election but his aide, Karen Eoff, is seeking his North Kona seat. Her sole opponent is Charles “Chuck” Guccione.

Four candidates are seeking the District 9 seat vacated by term-limited Pete Hoffman including Waimea attorney Margaret Wille, Robert “Bob” Green, Oliver “Sonny” Shimaoka and past candidate William “Bill” Sanborn.

Longtime legislator and current House member Bob Herkes is seeking the newly created Senate District 2 seat in Puna. His opponents in the Democratic primary include former council member Gary Safarik, Hilo videographer Wendell Kaehuaea and Russell Ruderman, owner of a Big Island chain of health food stores. The winner will face the lone GOP candidate, Republican Party official Daryl Smith, in the general.

Incumbent Sen. Josh Green is seeking re-election to Senate District 3 and is the lone Democrat. Nonpartisan Michael Last and two Republicans, Jeff LaFrance and John Totten, are also running in the district.

Sen. Malama Solomon, a veteran lawmaker and another gubernatorial appointee, is running in Senate District 4 where she faces former Big Island mayor and councilwoman Lorraine Inouye for the Democratic nod. The winner will take on Green Party candidate and former council member Kelly Greenwell in November.

Other House races include District 1 where Rep. Mark Nakashima faces fellow Democrat Noralyn Pajimola; District 3 where Smart will take on Richard Onishi in the Democratic primary with the winner to face Libertarian Fred Fogel and Republican Marlene Hapai; District 4 where Rep. Faye Hanohano has a free ride in the Democratic primary where nonpartisan candidaters Moke Stephens and Hope Cermelj will face off; and District 5 with Democratic Rep. Denny Coffman facing Leolani Oyama in the primary to see who will take on Republican Dave Bateman in November.

In the only other countywide race, current corporation counsel and former deputy prosecutor Lincoln Ashida is seeking the county’s chief prosecuting attorney post. His opponents in the nonpartisan race include a current deputy prosecutor, Mitch Roth, and Ka‘u attorney Paul Dolan.


***Updated on June 6 for a correction: Michael Last is running as a nonpartisan in Senate District 3.*** 

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