by Edwin Quinabo
It looked promising for Hawaii’s Filipino community going into Primary Election 2022. But the overall result is a mixed bag.
Big Races 0-3
Filipino-American hopefuls for large races went 0-3. In the race for Lt. Governor Sherry Menor-McNamara came in fourth out of six candidates. Sergio Alcubilla was defeated by Ed Case (76.4% to 15.4% in Hawaii Congressional District 1); and Patrick Pihana Branco lost to Jill Tokuda (48.6% to 21.1% in Hawaii Congressional District 2).
State Senate, Potentially Plus 2 seats after General, if all 6 remaining win, 2 already automatic winners from Primary)
Going into the General Election, the Filipino community potentially could gain a net of 2 seat for a total of 8 of 25, or 32% in the Hawaii State Senate. The Filipino population in Hawaii is 25%.
Automatic State Senate winners of Filipino ancestry after the Primary Election are Henry Aquino (District 19) and Gil Coloma Keith-Agaran (District 5).
Aquino, a State House Representative defeated fellow Filipino Roger Clemente 68.6% to 16.5%. There was no incumbent in this race due to redistricting. He has no other party challenger for the General.
Agaran is the incumbent in District 5 and has no challenger for the General.
State Senate candidates of Filipino ancestry moving on to the General (either they won their primary or ran unopposed) are incumbents Donovan Dela Cruz, Lorraine Rodero Inouye (who beat out a fellow incumbent State Senator, their former districts merged), Donna Mercado Kym and Joy San Buenaventura. All these Democrat candidates will face challenges from other party winners.
In State Senate District 16 incumbent State Senator Bennette Misalucha lost to fellow Filipino Brandon Elefante 65.6% to 27.0%. Elefante’s tenure at the City & County of Honolulu Council termed out. Elefante has a Republican challenger Patricia Yuki Beekman.Matthew Keiklani Tinay, the only Republican of Filipino ancestry), ran unopposed and will face incumbent Karl Rhoads in the General.
State House (potentially win 6 seats, but already minus two from 2022 State Legislature)
State Representatives of Filipino ancestry for 2022 comprised of eight members. Going into the 2022 Primary Election, five of the eight incumbents were either seeking other offices, decided not to run, and Rep. Ty Cullen quit due to allegations of corruption.
The large number of candidates of Filipino ancestry (15) in 2022 running in the House, could have maintained similar or increased representation in that body (to make up for the five outgoing).
But after this Primary Election, only six candidates of Filipino ancestry will move on to the General. The six either won their races or ran unopposed in the Primary. They are Micah Pookela Kim-Aiu, Della Au Belatti, Ernesto “Sonny” Ganaden, Diamond Garcia, Rachele Fernandez Lamosao and Rose Martinez.
Hawaii County (potential plus 1 after General)
Dr. Addison Suero Bulosan came in 6th place and moves on to the General to compete for one of the seven-seat county council. Kauai does not have districts for its City Council.
City & County of Honolulu Council (potential plus 1 after General if 2 remaining win)
The 2022 City & County of Honolulu Council comprised of three members of Filipino ancestry. Radiant Cordero and Augie Tulba were not up for relection. Brandon Elefante termed out but won his Senate race (see above).
After the Primary Election, three candidates of Filipino ancestry remain and will move on to the General (none of the candidates in these races reached the required 50%, plus 1 to win the Primary outright).
The three candidates are Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Val Aquino Okimoto and Ron Menor. In District VI, Tyler Dos Santo-Tam (28.2%) will challenge second place finisher Traci Toguchi (28.2%) for District V1. It was a crowded Primary for this district with seven total candidates.
In District VIII, Filipino candidates Ron Menor (former State Senator and City Council member) and Val Aquino Okimoto (former State House Representative) will go head-to-head in November. It was a close race in the Primary Aquino Okimoto 34.0% edging out Menor 32.4%
.A Dos Santo-Tam and either Aquino Okimoto or Menor win — would bring the next City & County of Honolulu to four of 9 (44.4%) members of Filipino ancestry.
by Edwin Quinabo