Saturday | April 18, 2015
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There’s much at stake in primary

The primary will be a winner-take-all affair for two County Council races.

The races for council districts 1 and 8 both have two candidates, meaning the winner will be chosen at the outset.

District 1 covers the Hamakua Coast and includes portions of South Hilo and Waimea. Its representative, Valerie Poindexter, first elected in 2012, faces challenger Larry Gering, who also ran two years ago.

Karen Eoff, also elected in 2012, represents District 8. She faces challenger Sean Hunter.

District 8 includes North Kona.

There may be others who can claim victory Aug. 9.

In County Council races with three or more candidates, the top two in the primary proceed to the general election. That is, unless one receives more than 50 percent of the vote excluding blank ballots and overvotes. In that case, they are elected and can take the rest of the campaign season off.

County Council candidates are not affiliated with political parties.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs elections are also non-partisan, and a candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary can also be deemed elected. But, according to the state Office of Elections, blank ballots and overvotes are taken into account when determining the threshold.

For two other council incumbents, the primary will be more of a formality. Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and South Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha are unchallenged, and will return for another two-year term.

State Rep. Cindy Evans, D-Kohala, North Kona, is also unopposed.

A few incumbents on the ballot are not facing primary challengers from their party, meaning they will go on to the general election.

Those are state Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u; U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat; state Rep. Mark Nakashima, D-Hilo, Hamakua; and state Rep. Richard Onishi, D-Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano.

Email Tom Callis at


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