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After filing deadline, nearly 400 candidates are running in Hawaii’s primary election

Voters are facing some big decisions for the upcoming primary election in Hawaii. Honolulu Civil Beat shows us what's at stake.
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 7:39 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 8, 2022 at 8:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With Hawaii’s primary election just two months away, nearly 400 candidates are running for 104 races after Tuesday’s filing deadline.

According to a count by Honolulu Civil Beat, more people are running this year than in 2020 or 2018.

The biggest race will be to replace Gov. David Ige, who has reached his term limit after being in office since 2014.

The frontrunner appears to be Lt. Gov. Josh Green, whose approval rating surged during the coronavirus pandemic.

His two main Democratic rivals are U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele and former First Lady Vicky Cayetano.

“What he really has going for him in addition to a big campaign war chest, a lot of the major unions have endorsed him, and he’s got that name brand recognition,” said Chad Blair, of Civil Beat. “Remember, he’s a medical doctor, we saw him all over the news during COVID, so Vicky Cayetano and Kai Kahele will be giving him a heck of a run, but it’s gonna be a tough race.”

On the Republican side, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona entered the governor’s race, filing just hours before Tuesday’s deadline. He declined to say why he entered so late.

Aiona will be running against MMA fighter BJ Penn, Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi and several other Republican hopefuls.

Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore believes Aiona knows it’s extremely tough to win as a Republican in Hawaii, but he’s doing it for his party.

“A large part of this is just to, from his view, to maintain some respectability for the Hawaii Republican Party, to run someone who is a mainstream candidate, who has respectable credentials against a more radical candidate in BJ Penn,” Moore said.

Several key offices are also up for grabs in Congress. One of them is the seat being vacated by Kahele, who’s leaving after just one term.

State Rep. Patrick Branco, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda are among those in the running on the Democratic side. The winner will proceed to the general election and face either Republican Joe Akana or Joe Webster.

U.S. Rep. Ed Case is trying to stay in Washington. But on Tuesday, the Hawaii State Teachers Association endorsed Democrat Sergio Alcubilla.

Alcubilla is a graduate of the University of Hawaii law school and previously worked for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.

Aside from these big races, all 76 seats in the state Legislature are on the ballot due to redistricting.

There are also races at the city and county levels across the state.

The primary election is on Aug. 13. The state said voters will receive their ballots in the mail by July 26.

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