Ruggles beats incumbent Paleka in Puna council race

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Jennifer Ruggles unseated Hawaii County Councilman Daniel Paleka in the District 5 race.

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Jennifer Ruggles unseated Hawaii County Councilman Daniel Paleka in the District 5 race.

With all precincts reporting, the 27-year-old Fern Acres resident won 1,794 votes, or 54 percent.

Paleka, who was elected to the Puna mauka seat in 2014, received 1,532 votes, or 46 percent.

“I do believe our message has been heard,” said Ruggles, prior to the final tally.

She said the district had been “underserved and underrepresented.”

Paleka received $22,475.93 in donations and spent $14,961.60 this election period.

Ruggles received $11,432.98 in donations and spent $8,275.54.

Paleka wasn’t the only council member to be unseated in the primary.

Herbert Richards, who received 1,927 votes, or 52 percent, beat Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille.

Wille received 1,754 votes, or 47.6 percent.

Several council members won re-election Saturday.

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They are: Valerie Poindexter, District 1; Aaron Chung, District 2; Maile David, District 6; Dru Kanuha, District 7; and Karen Eoff, District 8. Poindexter was unopposed.

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

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