State Senator Menor is out and Kidani is in

State Senator-elect Michelle Kidani
State Senator-elect Michelle Kidani
State Senator Ron Menor
State Senator Ron Menor
Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu
Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

MILILANI, Oahu (KHNL) - Supporters of first-time candidate Michelle Kidani of Mililani burst into applause as the first set of numbers came in.

"I'm very excited,"said Kidani. "I'm a little surprised but very excited and just very, very grateful."

At the other end of Mililani, the mood was different as incumbent State Senator Ron Menor continued to trail after the second printout.

"We thought that we had run a strong, positive campaign," said Menor. " We emphasized our experience, our track record."

Earlier this year, the 52-year-old Democrat was sentenced to two days in jail for driving while intoxicated with his children in the car.

He famously blamed a contact lens and an injured foot for his refusal to participate in a field sobriety test.

"As far as my opponents were concerned, they were focusing on the DUI incident," said Menor. "But again, we trusted the fairness of the voters."

A drunken driving conviction didn't hurt incumbent State Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu, who admitted wrongdoing to his constituents immediately after his arrest.

"When I made my mistake, I pretty much was honest about that and didn't run away from the media or, you know, didn't try to hide it," said Karamatsu.

The 33-year-old Democrat from Waikele defeats challenger Ty Cullen, and faces Republican Rito Saniatan in the general election in November.

With no other party putting up a candidate for Menor's seat, Kidani is the new state senator for her district.

"We did work really hard," she said.  "And I thank my campaign volunteers for that."