Andria Tupola, the former Republican state legislator who launched a failed bid to unseat Gov. David Ige in 2018, will be joining the Honolulu City Council next year.

Calvin Say, another state lawmaker who served in the House, clinched his council race as well, based on final returns.

In the race to represent the District 1 Leeward Oahu seat, Tupola has garnered a commanding 53% of the vote and appears on track to win outright, according to results released by the state Elections Office.

She’s followed by Kathy Davenport and Anthony Makana Paris, who each remain at just over 14% of the vote. Naomi Hanohano has 6% while Galen Kerfoot has 2%.

It’s part of the first results for a council that will look very different next year.

Five of nine incumbent council members are leaving due to term limits. That includes two of its most recent chairs — Ikaika Anderson, who represents much of Oahu’s Windward side; and Ron Menor, whose district includes the Ewa plain and Mililani.

In the District 3 race to succeed Anderson, Esther Kiaaina has 27% based on the most recent returns. She’s followed by Greg Thielen with just under 24%, Alan Kekoa Texeira with nearly 17%, Grant Kalima with 13%, Paul Mossman with 4% and Warland Kealoha with nearly 2%.

In the District 9 race to succeed Menor, Will Espero is leading with nearly 36% on the latest returns. He’s followed closely by Augie Tulba with 32% and Earl Tsuneyoshi with just over 21%.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, Ann Kobayashi and Joey Manahan are also terming out.

In the District 5 race to succeed Kobayashi, longtime state House member Calvin Say leads with 42.5%. He’s followed by Dave Watase with nearly 34% and Phil Lee with 6%.

But Say climbs to 51% when blank and over votes are excluded. That more than 50% is enough for him to win the race outright.

Meanwhile, in the District 7 race, Radiant Cordero appears just shy of the vote share needed to avoid a general election runoff. She leads so far with 41.5%. She’s followed by Jacob Aki with nearly 37% and Ryan Mandado with nearly 9%, based on official election returns.

But when blank and over votes are excluded, Cordero has a 48% share. She would need over 50% to win the race outright.

The departure of so many longtime city legislative leaders all at once will inevitably shake up the power structure at Honolulu Hale during a momentous and challenging time.

The new council will likely have to make tough choices on cuts to city services as they face large budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They’ll have to address Oahu’s persistent affordable housing and homelessness crises as unemployment reaches levels not seen since the Great Depression.

Its members will also have to grapple with rail. The $9 billion transit project is poised to enter an unprecedented public-private partnership that local rail officials are banking on to finish construction to Ala Moana Center.

That deal will also have a private entity handle the first 30 years of rail’s operations and maintenance. As voters went to the polls on Saturday, little was known about how that deal would work other than that the city received at least two proposals from private ventures late last month.

Before you go . . .

Everyone at Civil Beat feels the weight of heightened responsibility. For the past several months our nonprofit newsroom has worked beyond our normal capacity to provide accurate information, push for accountability, amplify smart ideas and new voices, and double down on facts and context to write deeply reported local stories.

The truth is, our evolution as a public service news organization over the past 10 years has prepared us for this moment in time, when what we do matters the most.

Reader support keeps our small newsroom afloat. If you value the work of our journalists, please consider making a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author