San Buenaventura wins state Senate bid; incumbents fare well in House races

  • SAN BUENAVENTURA

  • NAKASHIMA

  • TODD

Democrat Joy San Buenaventura won her bid Tuesday for the District 2 state Senate seat representing Puna and a portion of Ka‘u, although the first election results with news of her victory weren’t released until 11:25 p.m. because long lines caused lengthy delays at polling places, especially at Kapolei Hale on Oahu.

Businessman Russell Ruderman, owner of the Island Naturals grocery chain, decided not to run for re-election to the seat he’d occupied since 2012.

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San Buenaventura, a lawyer and three-term member of the state House, where she served as majority whip, garnered 13,765 votes — 75.6% of the valid votes cast — to 4,443 for Ron Ka-Ipo, a member of the new Aloha Aina Party.

The five state House seats representing the Big Island also were decided Tuesday.

Mark Nakashima, a Democrat who has represented District 1 (Hamakua, North Hilo and the northern portion of South Hilo) since 2008, tallied 72.2% of the valid votes cast to defeat Republican Hilo businesswoman Lorraine Shin, 8,598 votes to 3,310 votes.

In the race for House District 2, which encompasses Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa and Waiakea, incumbent Democrat Chris Todd will return for his second full term, garnering 9,189 votes, or 86.3%, to 1,460 votes registered by Devin McMackin Sr. of the Aloha Aina Party. Todd was appointed in 2017 to fill the seat that became vacant upon the death of Rep. Clift Tsuji.

Incumbent Democrat Richard Onishi, who represents District 3 with portions of Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown Mountain View and Volcano, retained the seat he’s occupied since 2012 with 72.4% of the valid votes, defeating Republican Susan Hughes by a margin of 7,977 to 3,034.

Former County Councilman Greggor Ilagan will now represent Puna in House District 4 with more than 70% of the vote in a three-candidate race. Ilagan, who defeated former Puna Councilwoman Eileen Ohara in the August Democratic primary, tallied 7,483 votes to turn back Republican Hope Cermelj, who had 1,870 votes, and Aloha Aina party member Desmon Haumea, with 1,302 votes.

Democrat Jeanne Kapela won the House District 5 seat representing Naalehu, Ocean View, Captain Cook, Kealakekua and a portion of Kailua-Kona.

Kapela, who was Miss Hawaii 2015, is a sexual violence prevention education coordinator for Imua Alliance. She received 8,069 votes, or 77.4%, defeating Libertarian Michael Last, who had 1,565 votes, and Citialli Decker of the Aloha Aina party, who had 792 votes.

Kapela will assume the seat vacated by Naalehu physician Richard Creagan, who decided not to run for re-election. Creagan held the seat since his appointment by then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2014 to finish the term of Rep. Denny Coffman, who resigned.

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In West Hawaii’s sixth and seventh House districts, incumbents Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona) and David Tarnas (D-North Kona and South and North Kohala) retain their seats after running unopposed in the primary election.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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