There are 19 candidates now in the race for election to serve on the Kaua`i County Council. On August 13 that list will be whittled down to the top 14 vote-getters. Then on November 4th, the final top 7 will go on to serve Kaua`i County for the next 2 years.
Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro and Council Vice Chair Mason Chock are both “termed out” and unable by law to run for re-election.
While there are 2 bonafide “openings”, all 7 seats are up for election.
To recap the way the voting works in the Council race, each registered voter “may cast up to 7 votes” and all seats are elected “at large” (all Kaua`i is a single district).
To throw newbies a curve ball, insiders often utilize a voting method referred to as “plunking” where the voter casts less than the full 7 votes they are permitted.
For example imagine candidate X. Let’s imagine for a moment that candidate X’s dear mother marked her ballot obviously in support of her child, and then proceeded to vote for 6 other candidates which she is entitled to do.
Let’s further imagine candidate X’s family is clustered around the radio listening to Ron Wiley on KONG (all day long) who announces that candidate X lost the election by a single vote. In essence, dear ole mom’s vote for another candidate is the vote that caused the defeat.
Needless to say, the mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters and close friends of Council candidates – will often only cast a single vote, forgoing the other 6 they are entitled to.
Other critically important numbers are #5, #6, #7, #8, and #9 – and maybe #10.
At the end of the night on August 13th, the top 14 candidates proceed to the general election, but history says it’s really only the top 10 who have a hope of winning in November. So at the conclusion of the primary, candidates in slots #8, #9, and #10 will be fighting to move up and those in slots #5, #6, and #7 will be fighting to hold on. Those in the top 4 slots will likely just cruise to victory.
So who’s positioned to win?
First and foremost, a winning candidate must be on the voters radar. Voters will choose candidates they are familiar with, who they trust, and who they believe share common values.
The ability to raise campaign funds is important, as is the willingness and interest of the candidate to “run a real campaign” – putting up signs and banners, holding signs along the highway, canvassing door-to-door, etc.
Campaigns cost money. To ensure that at least 13,964 voters (the minimum winning number in 2020) vote for you, is a formidable task that costs money and takes work, lot’s of work.
One way to rank candidates and judge viability is to review their Campaign Spending Reports.
If a candidate has not yet filed a report, either they are breaking the rules or they intend to spend zero money on their campaign. While low-budget campaigns can win, zero-budget campaigns cannot.
Here is the full breakdown of the money numbers in ascending order – effective Monday, July 25 as per their campaign spending reports. An asterisk indicates an incumbent. Reports can be found by entering the candidate’s name in “View Reports” at: https://csc.hawaii.gov/CFSPublic/menu/
James Langtad – no records found, Lila Metzger – no records found, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros – no current report found, Jeffrey Lindner $-1,481.67, Rosemarie Jauch $-1,273.83, Melvin Rapozo $-1,011.40, Rachel Secretario $0, *Bill DeCosta $26, Nelson Mukai $269.88, Roy Saito $437.01, Jacquelyn Nelson $730.47, *Luke Evslin $1,046.71, Felicia Cowden $1,769.07, Clint Yago Sr. $2,580.00, Fern Holland $2,920.41,*Bernard Carvalho $5,864.65, Addison Bulosan $9,030.75, Ross Kagawa $10,211.54, and *KipuKai Kualii $26,304.34
So how do I determine who I’m voting for?
I certainly am not going to vote for someone I don’t know about or have never heard of except for the fact that their name is on the ballot.
My personal experience with the individual and/or observing them in action either while on the Council or in the community is what’s most important. If I am unfamiliar with them, I will read their campaign brochure, review their website and social media postings, and ask others in the community about them.
I only vote for candidates who are serious about winning. Are they running a real campaign? Are they working hard out in the community to earn my vote?
If they are elected, “Will they be the person they say they are?” Will they hold fast to the values they espouse on the campaign trail when they’re actually called to vote on the tough sometimes controversial issues?
At the end of the day, we collectively are responsible for our government’s leadership. We choose our leaders, and we should take the time to do it right.
***Many are asking who I am voting for in the Council and other races on the Kaua`i Ballot – Here is the answer.