Final Printout Shows Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder Winner of District 5 Seat
Two Hawai‘i County Council seats were to be decided by the general election. As of late Tuesday night, one was in the books while another was still being determined.
District 5 incumbent Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder (D-Puna) was ahead of his opponent Ikaika Rodenhurst (Nonpartisan) by 318 votes. According to the second printout from the state elections office, Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder secured 4,151 votes and Rodenhurst obtained 3,833. While the numbers are close, Kaneal‘ii-Kleinfelder was waiting for the third printout of election numbers before claiming victory.
The third and final printout posted at 1:23 a.m. on Wednesday showed the same results.
“It was a good race,” Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said late Tuesday night. “It was hard and I’m exhausted.”
Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said this race was different than his first two years ago in that he was an unknown candidate in 2018. He recalled winning in the primary election where approximately 4,000 votes were counted in his district.
This year, those numbers nearly doubled to 8,000 votes in the General Election.
The state saw a record turnout to the polls on Tuesday, which delayed results for several hours. While the wait was difficult, both candidates were happy that so many individuals took part in the Democratic process.
“It’s really good to see voters show up, and voters who show up on Election Day, they want to make sure their vote is counted,” Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said.
Rodenhurst also noted that he didn’t expect to wait this long to see results.
“So far, it looks like I’m coming up short,” he said late Tuesday night. “I appreciate Matt for running a clean race, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to run for County Council.”
Rodenhurst didn’t make any official announcements before the third printout was published. However, he did say regardless of the outcome, now decided, that he was hopeful for the future of Puna.
The County Council race in the Big Island’s First District was decided with Heather Kimball (D) emerged as the victor over Dominic Yagong, a former County Councilman hoping to regain his seat once more. According to the third and final printout, Kimball received 4,531 votes while Yagong secured 3,707.
Kimball said Tuesday night it was an honor to be elected. She will replace Valerie T. Poindexter, representing portions of South Hilo, North Hilo, Hāmākua, and a portion of Waimea.
“I’ve been working for a long time to represent this district and I’m thrilled votes went my way tonight,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with the members of the Council.”
Kimball was appreciative of her opponent, saying their contest represented how races should be run.
“We are two people who genuinely care about our county,” she said.
After the second printout, Yagong (Nonpartisan) said it was pretty clear that Kimball would win the election.
“I already wrote her a note congratulating her,” he said, adding the first printout was pretty telling. “I really think she’ll do an outstanding job.”
Both candidates were also happy with the voter turnout, even if it meant waiting a few extra hours for results. Yagong believes mail-in ballots were a success.
“When you give people the opportunity and convenience of voting, they will participate, and I’m really proud of the Big Island,” Yagong said. “I hope this is a trend (of high voter turnout) that continues.”