Candidates Set for Hawaii Congressional Races

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HONOLULU — The candidates for Hawaii’s two congresssional seats in the Nov. 3 general election were selected in the Aug. 8 primary.

In the 1st Congressional District (southern Oahu), the candidates are:

Ed Case and Ron Curtis

Rep. Ed Case (incumbent), Democratic Party, who ran unopposed in the primary. He has been in office since January 2019, when he succeeded Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. An attorney by profession, he served in the State Legislature for eight years and represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District from 2003 to 2007.

Ron Curtis, Republican Party. He won a five-way primary (against James Dickens, Nancy Olson, Arturo Reyes and Taylor Smith) with 41.1 percent of the vote. His professional experience includes working as a systems engineer as a government contractor for NASA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture. He retired in February 2016.

Also running is nonpartisan candidate Calvin Griffin.

In the 2nd Congressional District (all of the Hawaiian islands except for southern Oahu), the candidates are:

Kai Kahele and Joseph Akana

Hawaii State Sen. Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele, Democratic Party. He won a four-way primary (against Brian Evans, Brenda Lee and Noelle Famera) with 76.5 percent of the vote. He has been in office since February 2016. His professional experience includes serving as a commercial airline pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, executive director for Pac Pono Milolii, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is also a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard.

Joseph Akana, Republican Party. He won his primary with 44.1 percent of the vote, finishing ahead of eight other candidates (Elise Kaneshiro, David Hamman, Robert Nagamine, Nicholas Love, Steven Bond, Felipe San Nicolas, Karla Bart Gottschalk and Raymond Quel). He served 10 years as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Air Force and is a retired project manager and analyst with the U.S. government. Currently, he is president of Arete Management Inc. and a business development coach for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.

Also running: Jonathan Hoomanawanui, Aloha Aina Party; John Giuffre, American Shopping Party; Michelle Rose Tippens, Libertarian Party; Ron Burrus, nonpartisan.

The congressional seat is currently held by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination and announced that she would not seek a fifth term.

“I’m so grateful to the people of Hawaii for allowing me to serve you in Congress for the last seven years,” Gabbard said in October 2019. “Throughout my life, I’ve always made my decisions based on where I felt I could do the most good,”

Kahele, who announced his candidacy prior to Gabbard’s withdrawal, has been endorsed by prominent Hawaii Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, Rep. Case, and former governors John Waihee, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie.

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