Incumbent Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami easily qualifies for Nov. 8 election

Incumbent Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami won a majority of votes in the primary for the county mayoral race and will qualify for the Nov. 8 general election with top candidate Michael Roven Poai.

Poai, a county parks and recreation employee and two other candidates — Mitch McPeek, a self-employed carpenter/maintenance handyman and Megeso-William Denis, a former Fortune 500 company executive — trailed Kawakami far behind.

“We are very pleased with the results,” Kawakami said Saturday night. “It’s a testament to the people I’ve been able to surround myself with over the course of my life, whether it’s working at Big Save, our campaign team who have just given so much time and effort, to my family, my wife, my daughter, my son who made huge sacrifices.

“And our administration, I have a great team. I let them do their job. I support them and they go out there and deliver,” he added.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Kawakami took an aggressive approach to managing the spread of the virus by implementing an island-wide nighttime curfew. The state of emergency came months before vaccines and boosters were made available to residents. Air travel to and from Kauai was also limited to only essential needs.

If re-elected for a second term, Kawakami aims to continue improving the island’s infrastructure, stepping up a crackdown on illegal vacation rentals and securing more affordable housing. “We really want to identify practical sites, meaning there’s existing infrastructure or infrastructure (that) would be easy to integrate,” Kawakami said of the affordable housing expansion.

Prior to his first term as mayor, Kawakami served on the Kauai County Council from 2008 to 2011 before being appointed to the State House. After five years, Kawakami joined the county council.

In the Kauai County Council race, 19 candidates were vying for the seven at-large seats. The top 14 candidates who received the most votes will qualify for the general election.

Outgoing board members Bernard Carvalho Jr., Luke Evslin, Kipukai Kualii, Felicia Cowden and Billy DeCosta and nominees Addison Bulosan, Mel Rapozo, Fern Anuenue Holland, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros, Ross Kagawa, Lila Metzger, Nelson Mukai, Roy Saito and Rachel Secretario were the top 14 candidates in the county council race after the second printing of the results.

Go to for updates, resources and live results from today’s Hawaii primary election.

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