Victory is all but assured for three Hawaii Island incumbents, despite what seems a renewed interest in politics, with lots of candidates competing for office this election.
As of the 4:30 p.m. final filing deadline Tuesday, State Rep. Nicole Lowen, D-Kona, and County Councilwomen Ashley Kierkiewicz of Puna and Maile David of South Kona/Ka‘u had no challengers. One vote will secure their seats.
“To be honest, I’ve been really focused on the response to COVID-19, and this race hasn’t been front of mind. I’m still really worried about the future of the state, and the many unemployed and small businesses in Kona that are on the brink of closing their doors,” Lowen said. “I’m very honored and humbled to be able to continue representing District 6, and to be able to get back to work right away on the big challenges we are facing.”
Kierkiewicz and David expressed similar views.
“I’m surprised, speechless and very thankful. It has taken many years to finally have the experience of running unopposed and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to start my final term,” David said. “I look forward to devoting all of my time helping our island communities. Mahalo a nui loa for the privilege.”
“As a freshman representing Puna, it feels incredible to run unopposed,” Kierkiewicz said. “When Puna needed someone to advocate for recovery dollars from the Legislature, to fight for roads, to ensure community voices were brought into conversations, my team and I showed up. We will continue to put in the hard work and serve Puna with vision, vitality and humility.”
The race for Hawaii County mayor proved the most popular, with 17 candidates filing for the nonpartisan race by the deadline. Three candidates filed for the other countywide race, that of county prosecutor.
Plenty of candidates also lined up for the 2nd Congressional seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
The state Senate District 2 race, the only Senate seat on the Big Island ballot this year, will be decided in the primary election, as two Democrats, Joy San Buenaventura and Smiley Burrows, square off for the seat being vacated by Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, Ka‘u.
There’s a new party on the ballot this year, the Aloha Aina party, and it fielded candidates in four state House races representing the island, as well the 2nd Congressional District. Democrats, as is traditional, are vying for the most seats, along with a sprinkling of Republicans and Libertarians.
Candidates have until 4:30 p.m. today to withdraw their candidacy for any reason and until June 19 to withdraw with a doctor’s note. Voters who want to object to a candidate’s nomination papers can do so by June 9.
For the first time, Hawaii is going with a statewide mail-in ballot, expected to be mailed out July 21, according to Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto. Voted ballots must be received by the Clerk’s Office by 7 p.m. election day, Aug. 8.