Kanealii-Kleinfelder pulls papers for mayoral race: Puna Councilman still to decide his political future

  • Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder

If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. Or perhaps it’s just a shot over the bow that Puna Councilman Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder made by pulling nomination papers to run for mayor.

Kanealii-Kleinfelder, a freshman member of the County Council, has been critical of how Mayor Harry Kim’s administration has handled a number of issues — most recently the coronavirus pandemic still yet to peak in the islands.


Kanealii-Kleinfelder has also pulled nomination papers for his current council seat. He’s got to file for one or the other to stay in the game.

“I am seriously considering that option,” he said Tuesday. “My commitment remains with District 5; however, I have been inundated with calls from throughout Hawaii County of frustration and dissatisfaction with the current direction of Hawaii County.”

Kim hasn’t yet said whether he’s running for re-election.

But 16 other candidates, in addition to Kanealii-Kleinfelder, have either pulled papers or filed for the county’s top seat.

Those who have filed include:

• Mitch Roth, 55, Hawaii County prosecutor since 2012.

• Bob Fitzgerald, 67, former director and deputy director of Parks and Recreation in the administration of former Mayor Billy Kenoi.

• Kelly Greenwell, former North Kona County Council member, and a farmer and nurseryman.

• Grayden K. Ha‘i-Kelly, a musician and entertainer who also works at two Kona-area resorts.

• James “Jiro” Yuda, 44, a former deputy public defender and currently an attorney in Family Law Division of the state Department of the Attorney General.

• Mike Ruggles, 63, a longtime marijuana advocate and activist and father of former Puna Councilwoman Jen Ruggles.

• Ikaika Marzo, a Puna tour operator who became a social media phenomenon during the 2018 Kilauea eruption.

• Tante Urban, a former Kailua-Kona restaurateur who’s taken a leave of absence from the Maui newspaper, Fil-Am Voice.

Those who have pulled nomination papers but have not yet filed include:

• Wendell Ka‘ehu‘ae‘a, 77, a Hilo security guard and perennial candidate for more than a decade.

• Abolghassem Abraham Sadegh, a former government official in Iran and frequent testifier at County Council meetings.

• Ted Shaneyfelt, a lecturer in computer science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

• Daniel Cunningham, who ran unsuccessfully for County Council District 5 in 2014.

• Harvey Eli, 65, a Kona resident who identifies himself as a subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

• Neil Azevedo, division chief for the Highway Division in the county Department of Public Works.


• Yumi Kawano, 59, of Volcano, is a forester-conservationist and former teacher.

• Michael “Mikey” Glendon, a Hawaiian Homes beneficiary actively protesting the building of the Thirty Meter Telesope on Maunakea

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