There are 19 possible candidates for Hawaii County Mayor–so far. The latest to pull the candidate filing form is Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, as noted in the most recent candidate report from Friday, April 24.
The job of Hawaii County Mayor is always challenging. But in light of a nonexistent economy, plunging tax revenues, unemployment now at around 37% statewide, and 70 cases of COVID-19 on the island as of Sunday, per the State Department of Health, with an uncertain future — whoever starts the job on the first Monday in December, 2020, will have more significant challenges than usual.
Other familiar names who have been involved in public service or actively in the news who have pulled and/or actually filed include current County Public Works Highways Division Chief Neil Azevedo, former Director of County Parks and Recreation Bob Fitzgerald, former County Council member Kelly Greenwell, former County Council member and current President and CEO of Na Leo TV Stacy Higa, current first-term Hawaii County Council member Matt Kaneali’i Kleinfelder, Puna activist Ikaika Marzo, current Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, and cannabis activist Mike Ruggles.
In addition, candidates include Daniel H. Cunningham, Harvey W. Eli, Michael Glendon, Grayden Ha’i-Kelly, Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a, Yumi Kawano, Abolghassem A. Sadegh, Ted (Toku San) Shaneyfelt, Tante Urban, and James M. (Jiro) Yuda.
The County’s Primary Election is August 8, 2020, and if any of these candidates get more than 50% of the vote, they become the Mayor (as did Harry Kim in 2016). If nobody gets more than 50%, the top two vote-getters will advance to the General Election on November 3, 2020.
All voting will be by mail this year, a legislative decision made well before the onset of COVID-19. Ballots will be out around July 21, 2020, and people need to mail them back or drop them at the County Elections office in enough time to be in the office by Saturday, August 8 at 6 p.m. Any ballot received after that time will not count. Everybody registered should have received a yellow signature verification card. If you need to register or have any questions, go online to elections.hawaii.gov or call the Hawaii County Elections Office at 808-961-8277.
The deadline for people to file for any office is June 2, 2020.