The race to replace Kai Kahele in Congress will not include a prominent Oahu politician after all.

While he had expressed strong interest in the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by Kahele as he runs for Hawaii governor, Tommy Waters said Tuesday that he will not be in the running.

Instead, the Honolulu City Councilman and current chair will seek reelection to his District 4 seat, which represents Hawaii Kai, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina, Wailupe, Waialae Iki, Kalani Valley, Kahala, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki and portions of Kapahulu, Diamond Head, Black Point, Waikiki and Ala Moana Beach Park.

“My job is not done here at Honolulu Hale,” Waters said in a press statement.I am not ruling out a future run for Congress, but at this time, I am called to continue to serve at the Council to ensure greater transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. It is also my hope that our federal delegation prioritizes the needs of local families.”

Honolulu City Council member Tommy Waters gestures with mask during Waikiki press conference announcing a new banner being installed along Kalakaua Avenue about COVID-19 safe practices. February 21, 2021
Honolulu City Councilman Tommy Waters has opted out on a run for the U.S. Congress. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Waters, an attorney, is a former state representative.

Several other candidates have pulled papers for the nonpartisan election.

State Rep. Patrick Branco and former state Sen. Jill Tokuda are seeking the Democratic primary nomination. Several other candidates from various political parties have also pulled papers for the contest.

The filing deadline is June 7 and the primary is Aug. 13.

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