Name recognition and incumbency are helping candidates for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The sitting trustees on the ballot did very well in the primary election, based on results posted early Sunday.

For the Oahu seat, Trustee Peter Apo was elected outright because he had more than 50 percent of the vote against challengers Christopher K.J. Lum Lee and Jackie Kahookele Burke.

OHA trustees, others holding hands

OHA trustees after an emotional board meeting earlier this year.

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Three At-Large Seats

With Trustee Oswald Stender retiring, there is an open seat this year on the nine-member board.

Sixteen candidates vied to be among the six primary candidates who won the most votes Saturday. Those six will advance to the general election, where the top three finishers will become trustees.

In the latest returns, Trustees John. D. Waihee and Rowena Akana as well as former legislator and Board of Education member Lei Ahu Isa were leading the pack. They were followed by former Trustee Mililani Trask who trailed near behind.

Kelii Akina and Blake McInerny rounded out the top finishers that advance to the general.

Carmen Hulu Lindsey, the Maui incumbent, faces challenger Mahealani Wendt, a community volunteer, in the general election.

This year marked the first time that OHA, a quasi-independent state agency, has a primary. The seats are contested statewide and are open to all registered voters.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is tasked with protecting Hawaii’s native people and resources with funds from a growing financial portfolio.

But OHA has been in the headlines a lot recently, in particular for its development proposals for land it owns in Kakaako Makai and its efforts regarding nation-building.

For complete election results, visit the Hawaii State Elections Office.

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