Waltjen Captures Job as Hawai‘i County’s Top Prosecutor

August 9, 2020, 10:39 AM HST (Updated August 9, 2020, 10:39 AM)

Kelden Waltjen

Kelden Braun Akoni Waltjen will be Hawai‘i County’s next Prosecuting Attorney after narrowly avoiding a runoff during Saturday’s primary election.

Waltjen, who works at the county prosecutor’s office as a deputy prosecutor, captured 27,069 votes good for 51.3% after eliminating blank and spoiled votes. His opponents Jared Auna and Christopher R. Bridges, who both own their own practices, trailed behind him Waltjen the entire night.

After the second printout of results Saturday night, Waltjen had 25,907 votes. Auna had 14,297 votes, and Bridges took 10,031 votes.

“I feel really good, ecstatic, happy to have the support of my friends and family,” Waltjen said after the second wave of results were reported. “We’re excited and ready to move forward and Hawaii County a safer place.”


The final printout showed minor changes with Auna garnering 15,024 votes or 28.5% and Bridges with 10,583 votes or 20%.

Waltjen will succeed Mitch Roth, who is currently in a runoff race for Hawai‘i County Mayor against political upcomer Ikaika Marzo.

Waltjen has worked as deputy prosecutor since 2012, the year Roth won the job as Hawai‘i’s top prosecutor.

The prosecuting attorney position is the only other countywide office besides the mayor that is a nonpartisan four-year post. Waltjen will take up the mantle on Dec. 7.

Being born and raised here, I’ve always wanted to give back to my community,” Waltjen said. “I feel I am the right person for the right time.”

The office’s budget is around $11 million with over 120 staff members, 38 of whom are attorneys.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.


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