Lorraine Rodero Inouye, who ran for the Democratic nomination for State Senate District 4 (Waimea, Kohala, Waikoloa) in the August 11 primary has conceded the race to her opponent, incumbent Senator Malama Salomon.
Inouye had considered protesting the race after all the Hawaii County election office snafus, including late openings at some polling places in the State Senate District 4 area. Inouye was only 69 votes behind Solomon when the votes were tallied, out of more than 8,000 ballots cast.
Inouye said last week she could not get the information she needed to review the records from the County Office of Elections, so she went to the State Election Office on Oahu. She said after doing so, she decided not to file a challenge. Inouye said she offered congratulations to Senator Malama Solomon and thanked Solomon for her graciousness in refraining from talking to the media while Inouye addressed her concerns.
Inouye said “Under normal circumstances I would have conceded the Senate District 4 race to Senator Malama Solomon on Primary Election night, however due to the closeness of my race, and the numerous problems reported regarding the conduct of the election on this island by the Hawaii County clerk, I wanted to first conduct fact-finding. I thank the State elections chief Scott Nago and his state elections staff for making records available for my review today. This matter would have been resolved last week if the county elections office and County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi had made those same records available to me last week.”
Inouye also thanked her supporters and said she will throw her support to Solomon.
Kalei Akaka, who ran for the State House District 6 (North Kona) Democratic nomination, also lost in a close race to Nicole Lowen, by 45 votes out of around 3200 cast. Tuesday is the last day to file a challenge. Akaka’s father, Danny Akaka, Jr., sat through Monday’s Special County Council meeting and said it’s likely they will not file a protest, even though Akaka was running in an area where polling places opened late and voters were turned away. Filing a protest means going through the State Supreme Court. Proving how many voters were turned away and might have voted for which candidate would be a big challenge.