East Hawaii News

Ruderman, Green and Solomon Are State Senate Winners

November 6, 2012, 11:10 PM HST
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Russell Ruderman tonight became the Big Island’s first fourth state senator with a win over Darryl Smith.

Ruderman, a Democrat, received 71.5% of the non-blank votes to 21.6% for Smith, a former Democrat who currently serves as the chairman of the Hawaii County Republican Party.

Ruderman is the owner of a chain of natural food stores on the Big Island while Smith is a former contractor.

The Senate District 2 seat was created this year by the state Reapportionment Commission which decided population increases warranted adding a fourth senate seat on the Big Island.

Incumbent Sen. Josh Green easily outdistanced Republican challenger Jeff LaFrance 74.4% to 20.9%. Green, an emergency room physician in Kona, was first elected to the Kona seat in 2008.

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The third state Senate seat up for grabs, District 4 in North Hawaii, was won handily by incumbent Sen. Malama Solomon. She received 61% of the vote to 30.5% for her challenger, Green Party candidate and former County Councilman Kelly Greenwell.

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Solomon, a Democrat, was appointed to the seat in late 2010 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to replace Dwight Takamine, who had been named head of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Sen. Gil Kahele, another gubernatorial appointee, won the District 1 seat outright in the August primary by defeating County Councilman Donald Ikeda.

Another winner tonight was the lone incumbent among three state House seats on the Big Island up for grabs, all of which were won by Democrats.

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Rep. Denny Coffman defeated Republican Dave Bateman 63.2% to 30.5% for the District 5 seat in West Hawaii.

Richard Onishi, a county information systems analyst, won a three-way race for the newly configured House District 3. Onishi had 54.8% of the vote to 31.5% for Republican Marlene Hapai and 9.6% for Libertarian Fred Fogel.

In the other contested local House race, Nicole Lowen easily defeated Republican Roy Ebert 64.2% to 29.7%.

Lowen is a researcher and clerk for the state Legislature while Ebert is a small business owner.

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