Online Extra: Ilagan beats incumbent Councilman Blas


By PETER SUR

Tribune-Herald staff writer

Councilman-elect Greggor Ilagan, in his first bid for elective office, upset Councilman Fred Blas in the race for Puna’s newly redrawn 4th District.

Final results with all precincts reporting showed Ilagan snagged 3,795 votes to Blas’ 2,376. Although the number of votes may change in the final certified printout early Wednesday morning, the result is insurmountable.

“It’s looking really good,” Ilagan said after looking at preliminary figures.

And the numbers held up in the second printout.

“I really want to thank everyone who elected me,” Ilagan said. He pledged to help the community, and especially residents of the vast subdivisions that dot the 4th District, work together and be more informed.

“I want everyone to be on the same page,” he said.

The results were disappointing news for Blas, although he remained hopeful until the final results came in.

“It’s not over yet until the fat lady sings,” said Blas, a retired Southern California businessman who gained prominence in the Puna makai community through his volunteer work with the Hawaiian Beaches Action Team. The first-term councilman unseated incumbent 4th District Councilwoman Emily Naeole in 2010. Naeole has since endorsed Ilagan, joining those in Puna who have been dissatisfied with Blas’ performance so far.

But when the final results came in, Blas, denied a second two-year term, declined to make a statement.

Ilagan is a National Guard veteran who was studying accounting. His candidacy would not have been possible without the introduction of publicly funded campaigns for Hawaii County Council seats.

The two candidates come from starkly different backgrounds. Blas, 64, was born in Guam and came to Hawaii upon retirement. Ilagan, 26, was born in the Philippines but moved to Hawaii when he was a young boy.

Both Ilagan and Blas were hanging out in their respective homes Tuesday night, waiting for the results to trickle out.

Blas said the mood was good at his house around 7 p.m., where a small group of four or five people waited for the results to come out. But delays in releasing the first printout kept him waiting.

An hour later, they were still waiting.

“We are eating a lot of food,” said Ilagan, as more than 30 supporters milled about in Hawaiian Paradise Park. “We have so much food to eat.”

Ilagan credited the supporters who helped him squeak past the tightly contested August primary into Tuesday’s runoff election.

Email Peter Sur at psur@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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