Between changes in lines from the new County Council Districts resulting from redistricting and Council members who are either term-limited out or choosing to retire, the Hawaii County Council will have a whole new look at the end of 2012.
Redistricting has taken two Council members on the East side and put their residences in the same district–J Yoshimoto, and Dennis “Fresh” Onishi. If they both choose to run, they will face each other as well as any other as-yet-unannounced candidates. And that leaves one Council District in Hilo with no incumbent. On the West side, the new Ka’u District incorporates part of South Kona, meaning that freshman Council member Brittany Smart and veteran Council member Brenda Ford live in the same district. Neither has announced their intentions at this point.
Angel Pilago, Council member in North Kona, told West Hawaii Today that he will retire and not seek another term. He also indicated he does not plan to run for Mayor.
Council member Pete Hoffman, Waimea, is at the end of his four year term limit, so will not run. Earlier this year he announced he was considering running for Mayor, but decided against it.
With the creation of a new Puna district, that seat will be up for grabs.
County Council Chair Dominic Yagong, Hamakua, has not yet made any formal announcement, but it is widely believed he will vacate that seat to run for Hawaii County Mayor.
In Hilo, Donald Ikeda has reached the end of his maximum four terms, so cannot run; Hawaii County Democratic Chair Steve Pavao has announced he will run for the seat in the non-partisan race.
The primary election is Saturday, August 11. Candidate filing begins February 1 and ends June 5. The County Council seats are non-partisan, so any member running who gets more than 50% of the vote in the primary has the office. If nobody achieves 50% in any one race, the two top vote getters face off in the General Election, Tuesday, November 6, 2012.