Analysts: Even with an incumbent, there’s no clear frontrunner in Maui mayoral race
WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One of the hottest races this election will be in Maui County.
Current Mayor Michael Victorino is facing three high-profile challengers and four lesser-known candidates.
Political analysts said there is no clear frontrunner.
“For political junkies like myself and other people, it’s an exciting primary and I’m looking forward to it, like a Super Bowl,” said former political journalist Rod Antone.
Eight people are vying to be Maui County’s next mayor. While the race is indeed a crowded one, analysts believe only half actually have a chance.
“There was a lot of jockeying, even at the last moment with people adding their names,” said Maui political activist Dick Mayer.
Just before the filing deadline on Tuesday, Councilwoman Kelly King threw her hat in the ring.
King currently represents South Maui. She is an entrepreneur who pushes environment protection issues.
Victorino, the incumbent, is a long-time Maui politician and is seeking re-election.
“For the past four years or so he’s been on the top floor of the county building as our mayor and has name recognition because his son was a very famous baseball player,” Mayer said.
Also challenging him is retired Judge Richard Bissen, who is a founding member of Maui drug court.
Also in the mix is Councilman Mike Molina, who currently represents Makawao, Haiku and Paia. He is chair of the Government Relations, Ethics, and Transparency Committee.
“His name — Molina — is an old historical tradition here on Maui. It was a political name, and it gave him some recognition right from the beginning,” Mayer said.
The four remaining candidates are Cullan Bell, Kim Brown, Alana Kay, and Jonah Lion.
Political observers are looking forward to the upcoming race.
“I think it’s going to be one of the most substantial races that we have,” Antone said.
The primary election is Aug. 13.
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