Six County Council members file for re-election by Tuesday deadline


Six County Council members will ask voters for another two-year term.

Two-thirds of the nine-member panel filed for re-election by Tuesday’s deadline. Two council members — Brenda Ford and J Yoshimoto — face term limits, while one freshman representative is choosing not to run again.

Zendo Kern, who represents Puna, said he will not seek re-election to council and is not running for any other elected position this year. But when it came to explaining why, Kern declined to be specific.

“I have a few good reasons,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “The most important thing, I got a lot done in my term. I’m very happy with my decisions.”

Kern said he will be “embarking on a big opportunity” with his wife. “Life is really good.”

Seven candidates are seeking to replace Kern.

Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi and Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha are without challengers.

Onishi will have the most experience on council. Serving since 2008, he would be term-limited in two years.

Of any incumbent, Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan faces the most competition. Three candidates are challenging Ilagan for the position, including former Councilwoman Emily Naeole.

Ilagan replaced Fred Blas in 2012.

Blas pulled papers for the seat as well as for state House District 4. He didn’t make the filing deadline for either.

Another former council member, Aaron Chung, is among five candidates seeking to replace Yoshimoto, who represents District 2 in Hilo.

Deputy County Clerk Maile David is one of three candidates seeking to replace Ford as the Ka‘u/South Kona council member.

She ran previously in 2010 and 2012.

David is running against Richard Abbett of Ocean View and Jim Wilson, a Volcano resident and former Hawaii Tribune-Herald publisher.

Tiffany Edwards Hunt, a former Stephens Media Hawaii reporter who publishes the Big Island Chronicle, is running in the District 5 election to replace Kern.

She was a former aide to Naeole and also worked as Kern’s campaign chairwoman in 2012.

Waimea Councilwoman Margaret Wille has two challengers: Ronald Gonzales, Windward Planning Com-mission chairman, and Oliver Shimaoka.

North Kona Council-woman Karen Eoff will face one challenger, Michael Hunter.

Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter will face Larry Gering.

The primary is Aug. 9.

Council races are nonpartisan. If a candidate receives less than 50 percent of the votes, the top two go on to the Nov. 4 General Election.

Unlike in 2012, council candidates will not be able to receive full public funding for their campaigns. The pilot program that started in 2010 fell short of a funding goal to continue for the 2014 elections, which was supposed to be its last year.

State law required the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission to have at least $3.5 million in its trust fund to continue the program.

The state’s partial public funding program remains available to candidates.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.