Kobayashi wins District 5 race
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer
Former state Sen. Ann Kobayashi was elected tonight by voters in a special election held to replace convicted felon and former Councilman Andy Mirikitani.
She had been the front-runner in the race from the start after having served in the state Legislature for 14 years representing a large chunk of the Council district. She won the support of people who have campaigned before and she raised the most money in the race, more than $61,000 as of the first primary.
Kobayashi, 64, has been working as a special assistant to Gov. Ben Cayetano for youth programs, for which she accepts a salary of $1 a year.
Kobayashi also won the endorsement of the state's largest public worker union, the Hawai'i Government Employees Association.
The Council district spans the diverse communities of Manoa, Mo'ili'ili, McCully, Tantalus, Makiki, Pawa'a, Ala Moana and Kewalo. The race attracted a large field 14 people in the winner-take-all contest to finish Mirikitani's term, which expires Jan. 2, 2003.
Coming in second in the race was former state Rep. Sam Aiona, the youngest candidate in the race at age 36. Aiona, served in the state House from 1996 to 1998, representing the Makiki-Manoa area and has run again.
It was clear that political experience played a part for residents who took time to vote in the one-race election. The next closest contenders also have some islandwide recognition. Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo is well-known for his frequent reports to the news media about fires, rescues and disasters.
Soo, 50, lives in Kalawahine, the new Hawaiian Homes subdivision near Roosevelt High School. He took leave from his city job to run and is considering running in the next regular election, when reapportionment would place him in the district currently represented by Councilman Jon Yoshimura.
A legal election contest period ends at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15, after which Kobayashi can be sworn in. That would bring the Council back up to nine members in time for the Feb. 20 meeting of the Council for the first time since December.
Kobayashi will be eligible to run for the full-time seat in this fall's regular elections.
John A. Steelquist
Kekoa D. Ka'apu
Albert H. Furuto
John A. Anderson