HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Republicans retained five seats in the state House on Tuesday night with a win in the district that represents portions of Mililani town and Mililani Mauka.
Political newcomer Val Okimoto easily won in her bid for the seat against former Democratic state Rep. Marilyn Lee.
Hawaii Republican Party Chairwoman Shirlene Ostrov said she’s seen new support for the GOP, and started the evening optimistic that Republicans would pick up a seat in the state Legislature.
That’s not out of the question.
Late into the night, Democrat Matt Lopresti and Republican Kurt Fevella were neck-and-neck for the District 19 state Senate seat that represents Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe and Iriquois Point.
The Mililani seat, meanwhile, was also a toss-up going into the general election.
Okimoto, a former Mililani Town Association board member, said her conservative values are a reflection of the community.
“My campaign has always been to look to the future and what we can look forward to and doing a fresh new approach. I don’t discredit anything that she’s done. I just want to give people a choice,” Okimoto said.
Lee, though, pointed to her experience.
“They should pick me because I’m the best person to represent them. I know the community much better than my opponent. I’ve lived here very much longer than my opponent,” Lee said.
In 2012, voters in the district picked then-Republican Beth Fukumoto over Lee.