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Election 2012: Fourth print out state, county results
Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor
The final results are in and some faces are familiar and some new to county government.
Mayor Billy Kenoi fought off his former coach and boss, Harry Kim, to retain the county’s top seat.
With all 43 precincts reporting, the final tally was:
Billy Kenoi 31,433 49.9%
Harry Kim 29,976 47.6%
Blank Votes 1,575
Following the announcement, Kim congratulated Kenoi and urged him to focus on land issues.
“He ran a very good campaign. He pulled it out at the end tonight,” Kim said.
Kim said he was disappointed and used an analogy that dates to his days as a football coach — during which time his players included Kenoi — in thanking his volunteers and supporters.
“You hurt, but that’s automatic. You hurt for the loss, but you hurt for your players,” he said. “This has a been a 100 percent volunteer thing.”
Kim said he hopes Kenoi will remember the issues and topics they discussed at forums and debates across the island in the five months leading up to the General Election.
You hope that those things you ran for will be pursued,” he said. “It’s about people feeling close to their government and having a say in what happens to their home land their future. You have to stop the mentality of government telling you what will be, instead of a relationship of working together.”
Meanwhile, at Kenoi’s campaign headquarters, the mayor was being tossed into Reed’s Bay ice pond by a group of campaign workers and supporters.
“A lot of folks said it would be close, so it wasn’t unexpected. Former Mayor Harry Kim has a lot of respect and aloha throughout the community,” Kenoi said of the early returns that had the two men neck-and-neck. “There was a lot of uncertainty.”
Kenoi said he and his administration are ready to continue the work they began four years ago.
“We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing. We’ll continue to bring the island closer together, continue to focus on our rural communities. It’s not just about Hilo and Kona,” he said. “And you can count on me going to Washington D.C. and making very significant requests for appropriations.
“There’s still some uncertainty around this economic environment, but there is a sense that it’s looking up,” Kenoi said, pointing to positives in real estate, tourism and agriculture.
Kenoi also said he will focus making improvements to infrastructure, roads and recreation opportunities.
As for working with a council that features six first-term members, Kenoi said he is looking forward to it.
“I’m very excited. They are energetic, young and bring a new vision,” he said. “They recognize that the better we work together the better for their constituents, who are also my constituents. It’s not an us and them.”
Mitch Roth prevailed in one of the closest races in the county, just edging out Lincoln Ashida by 94 votes.
Roth said he is eager to start the job and credited West Hawaii voters with pushing him over the top.
Mitch Roth 27,963 44.4%
Lincoln Ashida 27,869 44.2%
Blank Votes 7,152
Four council seats were up for grabs in the General Election run-off, while five had been settled in the Primary Election.
Incumbent Brenda Ford moved past Maile David in a close race for a west side seat, while incumbent Fred Blas was removed from Puna’s office by newcomer Greggor Ilagan.
Valerie Poindexter rolled over Chelsea Yagong, daughter of out-going Council Chairman Dominic Yagong.
And Margaret Wille, an attorney and land use activist, cruised past Sonny Shimaoka.
Valerie Poindexter 3,834 54.5%
Chelsea Yagong 2,683 38.1%
Blank Votes 518
Greggor Ilagan 3,877 59.1%
Fred Blas 2,426 37.0%
Blank Votes 251
Brenda Ford 3,186 48.0%
Maile David 3,023 45.6%
Blank Votes 420
Margaret Wille 3,447 47.3%
Sonny Shimaoka 3,047 41.8%
Blank Votes 794
The five council members voted in during the Primary include incumbents J Yoshimoto, Dennis ‘Fresh’ Onishi and newcomers Dru Kanuha, Karen Eoff and Zendo Kern.
Elections run smoothly
The state stepped in to take over the majority of election operations from the county after a series of gaffes plagued the Primary Election.
The state Elections Office sent over two staff members to oversee the election, including State Ballot Operations Section Head Lori Tomczyk.
Tomczyk said the day started off fine and continued to progress smoothly.
“It was a successful launch for Hawaii County. All polls opened on time. There were some minor things, but we had troubleshooters out there immediately. They were just the normal, start-up issues,” she said.
She said the majority of questions coming in to control center were making sure voters were in the right polling place.
Tomczyk said she was in frequent contact throughout the day with County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, who came under scrutiny after firing several experienced elections officers and personally taking on the role of county’s elections chief.
“We appear to be on the same page,” Tomczyk said. “Things are working great between us.”
About 200 staff and volunteers juggled staggered shifts and manned the central control / counting center in Hilo, she said, and hundreds more volunteers manned the county’s 43 precincts.
More than one dozen Oahu precincts ran out of paper ballots and scrambled to get more ballots or electronic machine in place. That meant at least three polling places were kept open some two hours late, to allow all residents in line at 6 p.m. the opportunity to vote.
However, no Big Island precincts experienced the same problem.
“As far as I know, the case here is that we would deliver more paper ballots if precincts were running out,” Tomczyk said.
“I didn’t get any major surprises today,” she said.
Last poll place closed 6:28 p.m. on Big Island.Fourth Printout Hawaii County Election Results (PDF)
— For complete Hawaii state results, visit: hawaii.gov/elections/results/2…