Incumbent Senators to Face Former Legislators in 2012 Elections

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Elections 2012
Illustration by Emily Metcalf

The state’s 2012 candidate filing report was finalized at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Here are some highlighted Senate races:

The report shows that on the Democrat side, Senators Shan Tsutsui, Glenn Wakai, Jill Tokuda, Suzanne Chun Oakland and Donna Mercado Kim will have no challengers this year in either the primary or general election.


But because of reapportionment, Senators Carol Fukunaga and Brian Taniguchi will run against one another in the primary.

From the Big Island, Sen. Gill Kahele will be challenged by former OHA Trustee Donald Ikeda in Hilo’s Senate District 1, while in Senate District 2, former Rep. Bob Herkes and one of his major challenges will be Gary Safarik, former council member.

In Senate District 4, the new district created by reapportionment, will pit current Sen. Malama Solomon against former Senator and Big Island Mayor Lorraine Inouye. The two had run against each other years ago, with Inouye defeating Solomon. Ironically Solomon was part of the reapportionment lawsuit that ultimately created her new district and set up the rematch.

In Senate District 7, East Maui, Incumbent Sen. Kalani English is facing a Democrat challenger, Barbara Haliniak, and non-partisan Kanoho Helm. Helm is a leader of the I AM MOLOKAI group that opposes windmills and the electric undersea cable on Molokai, two controversial projects supported by English.

In Senate District 17, Waipahu, Sen. Clarence Nishihara is being challenged in the Democratic primary by former Legislator Alex Sonson.

In Senate District 18, in Mililani, Sen. Michelle Kidani will be running against primary opponent, former Rep. Michael Magaoay. Rojo Herrera, a Republican, will take on the winner in the general election.

In Senate District 19, Ewa Beach, Incumbent Sen. Will Espero challenges Roger Lacuesta in the Democratic primary.

Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Environmental and Energy Committee, will go up against Dean Capelouto, a Republican businessman. Dean’s wife Marissa Capelouto, a well known businesswoman, will run for the state House 42nd District against Democrat Incumbent Sharon Har.

Controversial Senate Democrat Clayton Hee, who chairs the Judiciary and Labor Committee, will face former Republican Rep. Colleen Meyer.

In District 25, Kailua, Waimanalo and Hawaii Kai, Republican Fred Hemmings, who retired from the senate two years ago, is trying to regain his seat. He will take on incumbent Sen. Pohai Ryan, or one of her two Democrat challengers, Laura Thielen or Levani Lipton.

Sen. Sam Slom, the only Republican in the 25-member Senate, will face an opponent in the general election, Democrat Kurt Lajala, in the newly designated District 9, which includes Hawaii Kai to Kapiolani.

In Senate District 10, Kaimuki, Sen. Les Ihara was facing a challenge in the general election against Republican businessman Douglas Lupton, but Lupton dropped out one day after filing.
Highlights from the House and council races will be made available in a different report later today.