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This is Bissen v. Victorino for the general elections | News, Sports, Jobs

Mayoral candidate Richard Bissen holds his grandson Milo Bissen-Kahula while welcoming former Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa to his election night Saturday night at Binhi at the Ani Filipino Community Center in Kahului. The Maui News/MATTHEW THAYER photo

Retired Judge Richard Bissen Jr. and incumbent Mayor Michael Victorino looked set to qualify for November’s general election, with Bissen holding an 800-vote lead over Victorino as of 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Bissen got 10,028 votes, or 35.2 percent, to Victorino’s 9,223 votes, or 32.4 percent, according to the second printout released by the state’s Office of Elections Saturday night. Bissen took a slightly larger lead after first printing showed him with a 677-vote lead over Victorino.

In third place was Maui County Councilmember Kelly Takaya King with 3,933 votes, or 13.8 percent. Akamai Coffee Co. Owner and CEO Kim Brown finished fourth with 1,801 votes, or 6.3%, while Council Member Mike Molina received 1,568 votes, or 5.5%. Construction company owner Cullan Bell won 1,023 votes, or 3.6%; Alana Kay obtained 168 votes, or 0.6%; and Jonah Lion had 69 votes, or 0.2%.

“I am grateful for the result” Bissen said after the second impression. “All the hard work of all the volunteers has paid off, all their work has been rewarded. It made a difference.

While other candidates had the advantage of recognition and government positions, “we had to start from scratch” Bite said.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino speaks with Akaku Maui Government Access Community Manager Chivo Ching-Johnson Saturday night. The Maui News/MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I also feel that this is how we will work as a team at the town hall. We’re going to stick together.” Bissen said. “I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just the beginning.

“People talk about doing things. I feel like we’ve demonstrated that. We can work harder and do more.

He said the reason people voted for him “It’s because they know me.”

“Even though I’m not a politician, they know who I am” he said. “They know where I come from. They believe in what I stand for.

“There’s real hope in that because I’m part of that community. I come from this community, my parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents.

Mayoral candidate Kelly King is interviewed via Zoom on Akaku Maui Community Media on Saturday evening. The Maui News/MATTHEW THAYER photo

He said the campaign was about reaching out to voters. “For a group of amateurs, we did a good job” he said. “We don’t have any experience. We have energy, we have ideas, we have commitment.

After the second printing, Victorino said he was waiting to see the third printing of the results, expecting more votes from Lanai and Molokai, which he thought might help him more than it would help Bissen.

In the 2020 primary election, Victorino won the votes of Lanai and Molokai over then-candidate Elle Cochran.

Maui County Clerk Kathy Kaohu said shortly before 11 p.m. that staff had just picked up ballots from voter service centers in Lanai and Molokai and they would likely be included on the next printout.

But overall, Victorino said: “I think it’s going to be the two of us. For me right now, I’m happy that we’re going to general and looking forward to a vigorous campaign.

Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom performs at her cousin Richard Bissen’s election night in Kahului on Saturday. The Maui News/MATTHEW THAYER photo

He said he will continue to work hard and so will his team.

As for doing some things differently for the general election, Victorino said he would like to have more outreach events, which he didn’t in the first few months of the year.

And, depending on the cases of COVID-19, he would like to have coffee hours and gatherings where he can meet people one-on-one.

Victorino admitted after the first impression he was hoping for “slightly better results” but was happy to be where he was. The first set of results showed Bissen with 9,763 votes, or 35.8%, compared to Victorino’s 9,086 votes, or 33.3%.

“I’ve been through a lot and the county has been through a lot and I understand why people feel the way they do and I want to make sure that as we move forward we correct and work together. to make this county what I call non ka oi,” he said. “I see it, it’s a real feeling in my heart.”

He added: “To everyone who ran I really say mahalo for their efforts and I will say this, I am proud of all of my opponents and what they brought to the table and now I would like to ask them to come together and work to make Maui a better place. The election does not change what we want, a better Maui.

King said after the first printing, which showed her 3,794 votes, or 13.9%, that she would wait to see the results of the second printing, but acknowledged “it looks like it’s going to be hard to catch up.”

“I was really hoping we would have two opposing choices for mayor and we haven’t. That’s why I ran to give people a choice. King said after the release of the second set of results.

She said that includes her stance on being an environmental climate mayor.

“We had high hopes, just the amount of support we got everywhere we went (and) the comments on the forums,” King added.

When asked if the results might have been different had she entered the race earlier, as she filed on the June 7 deadline, King said: “maybe, if we had entered the race a year ago or even eight to ten months. It could have been different, but that’s what it is.

King jumped into the race late because she said people were waiting to see what the positions of the mayoral candidates were. Because no one focused enough on aina, environment and climate issues, people encouraged her to run.

She called the results “disappointing,” noting that Maui County has a culture that puts aina first.

“I am sad because I was really looking forward, as mayor, to working with the council, which has been missing for four years,” he added. King added.

With the loss, King will no longer be in politics, but added that she has “a lot to do” with her and her husband’s company, Pacific Biodiesel, which was credited with $6 million in federal funds for a fuel-growing project on Oahu.

It’s going to be located on Oahu “Because Maui County ironically did not support the use of biodiesel,” said the king.

She said the city and county of Honolulu have been using it for 15 years and the island of Hawaii has been using it as well, because that’s where Pacific Biodiesel makes the fuel.

She will also participate in the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 27.

Board member Mike Molina, who had entered the race as potentially another top contender, praised Bissen and Victorino.

“I look forward to an exciting general election,” he said.

“We knew it was going to be tough” he said. “It’s all a game of money. If you have the most money, you can get your message across.

He said he has no political aspirations at the moment and will continue to work part-time as a substitute teacher.

“I still have ways to give back to the community,” he said. “I will always find a way to stay involved.”

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