Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth and political newcomer Ikaika Marzo were headed for a Nov. 3 runoff for Hawaii County mayor, judging from early returns in the state’s first all-mail election that had voters participating in record numbers.
With all ballots counted except those received Friday and Saturday, Roth had 19,168 votes or 32%, compared to Marzo, with 12,557 votes or 20.9% in the 15-candidate race for mayor. Any candidate receiving more than 50% of the vote would be elected in the primary, without having to go to a runoff.
The first printout was released at 7:16 p.m. with 60,697 ballots cast. That compares with a total of 43,817 total votes cast in the 2018 primary and 40,928 cast in the 2016 primary.
Roth, 55, has been the elected Hawaii County prosecuting attorney since 2012. He’s a founding member of the Hawaii Island Visitor Aloha Society (VASH), the Community Coalition for Neighborhood Safety, and the Hawaii Island Citizens Emergency Response Teams (CERT).
“We’re pretty happy with that. So far, so good,” Roth said. “I just want to thank all the people who worked so hard, all the volunteers. This is a ‘we’ thing, not a ‘me’ thing.”
Marzo, 36, is a business owner turned community organizer who was active during the 2018 lava flow, funding the Hub, Pu‘u Honua O Puna Eruption Relief Center.
Marzo seemed pleased to be in the top two, but reached after the first printout, said, “I’m just waiting for the next printout.”
“We have been working tirelessly for the past 5 months and I can say this, we have done everything we could have done to be successful in this election. Win or lose I still have your back Hawaii,” Marzo posted to his Facebook page before the results started coming out. “I will do everything I can for the safety and the well being of all race, all kupuna, all Keiki and all people of Hawaii. I will continue on my journey.”
Mayor Harry Kim was trailing in third place with 9,460 votes or 15.8%.
Kim, 80, began working for the county as the law enforcement assistance agency director in 1972, then spent 24 years as Civil Defense administrator before serving two terms as mayor from 2000 to 2008.
He was elected mayor again in 2016.
“I’ve always said from the beginning, judge me by my work,” Kim said. “And if folks aren’t satisfied with my work, then I accept what the people voted. That’s what it’s all about.”
Kim was followed by Neil Azevedo, with 6,773 votes or 11.3%, Stacy Higa, with 5,531 votes or 9.2%, Tante Urban, with 1,827 votes or 3%, Bob Fitzgerald, with 1,465 votes or 2.4%, Michael Ruggles, with 1,113 votes or 1.9%, Kelly Greenwell, with 659 votes or 1.1%, Wendell Kaehuaea, with 550 votes or 0.9%, Yumi Kawano, with 367 votes or 0.6%, Ted Shaneyfelt, with 159 votes or 0.3%, Paul Bryant, with 153 votes or 0.3%, Mikey Glendon, with 123 votes or 0.2% and Lahi Verschuur, with 52 votes or 0.1%, rounded out the candidate list.
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