Maui Election

UPDATE: Maui council races to see U’u-Hodgins v. Boone and Kama v. Nobriga

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Nohe U’u-Hodgins, Maui County Council Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia residency seat candidate, is surrounded by family and friends in her hometown of Pa’ia during the Primary Election on Saturday night. PC: Kelly McHugh

As of Sunday morning, Maui native Nohe U’u-Hodgins maintained her lead in the race for the Maui County Council Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia residency seat, which is being vacated by Council Member Mike Molina, who is running for mayor. 

U’u-Hodgins had a strong lead of 11,922 votes, or 30.2%, as of the third printout in Hawaiʻi’s Aug. 13 primary election, released at around 9:09 a.m. on Sunday. A final printout will be released when state officials are finished tallying votes for Honolulu County, which should not impact the Maui numbers.

Both the Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia and the Kahului residency seats are hotly contested council races. Residents throughout the county may vote for all nonpartisan council races, regardless of the residency seat. 

U’u-Hodgins on Saturday night said that “still in shock” over the early results. 

“I’m so humbled and so thankful for everyone’s support,” she said. “There’s no way I would’ve done any of this without the support of my family and my friends. My husband, my parents are my biggest support system. My grandmas were out there sign-waving with me at 6:30 in the morning. The work ethic they’ve instilled in me is unreal.”

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Uʻu-Hodgins said she hopes people know that her goal is for residents to be able to continue to live here. 

“I know we can find a way to have some balance between smart growth and the environment and respecting the culture,” she said. “We need to prioritize keeping our people here.”

Uʻu-Hodgins, wife and mother of four, emphasizes family values, respect and kindness. Although she’s a political newcomer, the candidate garnered strong campaign contributions and has name recognition from father Bruce Uʻu, field representative for Hawaiʻi Carpenters Union.

In the third printout, Nara Boone pushed ahead of Dave DeLeon for the number two spot. Boone garnered 7,608 or 19.3% of the vote compared to DeLeon, who had 7,258 votes or 18.4% of the vote in the third summary report. That’s a switch from earlier in the evening when DeLeon was ahead. The top two vote getters advance to the general election in November.

On Saturday DeLeon said that it was too early to tell the results and declined to speculate on the outcome. 

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“I’m glad and honored to be here,” he said via phone. “Especially given that I’m running basically as an independent candidate.”

When asked what DeLeon hopes resonates with people about his bid for council, he said his 40 years of experience in Maui government is a highlight, along with his time as a Maui News reporter.

He’d also like to be known as “an advocate for a variety of different topics from affordable housing to bike pathways.”

If he does make it on the general election ballot, he has a strategic next step.

“Run, baby, run,” he said. 

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Daniel Smith had 2,982 votes, or 7.6%, and Aram Armstrong had 1,808 votes, or 4.6%. 

For the Kahului residency, incumbent Council Member Tasha Kama maintained a slight lead over Buddy James Nobriga after the third printout.

Kama had 8,991 votes, or 22.8%, while Nobriga had 8,738, or 22.1% votes. 

The Kahului council member said early signs were encouraging, but she is waiting until the end to be sure. 

“The first printout was indeed encouraging, but we will wait for later results to gauge the will of the voters,” she told Maui Now via text on Saturday. “I am here to serve the people, regardless of the outcome.”

Meanwhile, Nobriga said he’s not sure what to think after the first printout. 

“I feel very lucky and blessed,” he said via phone. 

Nobriga, whose family is known for their Maui Soda & Ice Works Ltd. and Roselani Ice Cream brand, said his bid for council represents all the people who know him. 

“When you are born and raised here, this is the culmination of all the people you know and interact with,” he said. “My grandfather, my parents, everyone who supported me and held signs and worked hard.”

He emphasized the next generation of leaders and his work to inspire others to get involved. 

If he’s placed on the general election ballot, he said his team will be getting back to work and planning for the next few months.

“My campaign is from keiki to kupuna,” he said. 

Primary elections will determine the top two vote-getters to be placed on the general election ballot. Results of the general election will be determined in November.  

Other Kahului candidates include Carol Lee Kamekona with 6,737 votes, or 17.1%, Cara Flores with 2,919, or 7.4%, Keoni Watanabe with 2,088, or 5.3% votes, Tina Pedro with 1,928, or 4.9%, and Jack W. Schwartz with 1,553, or 3.9%.

For South Maui, which is being vacated by incumbent Kelly King’s bid for mayor, Tom Cook secured 13,759 votes, or 34.9%, while Robin Knox had 12,242 votes, or 31.0%. Dennis O’Shea had 4,768 votes, or 12.1%. 

For Upcountry, incumbent Yuki Lei Sugimura held a commanding lead at 20,360 votes, or 51.6%, Jordan Hocker had 7,517 votes, or 19.0%, and Renee Cruz had 5,332 votes, or 13.5%.

The primary election will determine the top two vote-getters to be placed on the general election ballot. Results of the general election will be decided in November. 

Kehaulani Cerizo
Kehaulani Cerizo was born and raised on Maui and worked for nearly 15 years as a news reporter, copy editor and features editor at daily newspapers. She earned awards at The Maui News in Wailuku and at Today’s Local News in San Diego.
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