HILO — Incumbent Councilwoman Maile David easily held her District 6 seat against two challengers Saturday, winning a third term without being forced to a runoff in the general election.
With seven of eight precincts reporting, David had 2,612 votes, or 77.62 percent of the votes cast, more than the 50 percent plus one vote that allows her to win in the primary. Challengers Richard Abbett, with 403 votes, or 11.98 percent, and Yumi Kawano, with 350 votes, or 10.4 percent, came in second and third.
David, who prefers legislating to campaigning, was relieved she doesn’t face a runoff.
“I’m just saying mahalo, mahalo and thanking my lucky stars for that,” David said. “I really respect and believe in the process and the procedures and the law. … I’m so thankful and I’m so blessed that I have people in my district that have trusted me and I just want to continue to earn that trust.”
It was a rare council race run without any campaign contributions reported by any of the candidates to the state Campaign Spending Commission as of July 27. David said she had enough left over from her previous campaign to buy a couple of ads, but didn’t want to ask her supporters for more.
Abbett said he called David and congratulated her. He’s been pushing for legalization of recreational marijuana as a way to raise revenue, and he hopes his voice will be heard in the coming years.
“I hope long term I get some of my issues put forward for our district,” Abbett said. “She’s got a very difficult job as finance chair in a very difficult time. … We’re not addressing those long-term trends. This situation is going to have to be addressed.”
David, 65, of Hookena, was certified as a paralegal after training at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and worked as a judicial assistant to former 3rd Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Strance, as well as legislative specialist and then deputy county clerk to the County Council.
Housing and relocation efforts in the wake of the volcano emergency are among David’s top priorities for the next term. Sprawling District 6 has a host of other needs as well, she said, including road resurfacing, transfer stations and abandoned vehicle removal.
Abbett, 61, of Waihinu, a self-employed consultant, holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy development and administration from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Kawano, 57, of Volcano, is a forester-conservationist and former teacher who has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and a master’s in elementary and secondary education from Pacific University, Eugene, Oregon.
District 6 includes Volcano Village, Hawaiian Orchid Island Estates, Pahala, Punaluu, Naalehu, South Point, Ocean View, Milolii, Hookena, Honaunau, Keei, Napoopoo, Captain Cook, part of Kealakekua, Keopuka Heights, Kona Hospital and Keopuka Kai.