Wildberger wins rematch against Couch | News, Sports, Jobs


Maui House contestant Don Couch is interviewed by Akaku’s Chivo Ching-Johnson and Kathy Collins during Saturday night’s virtual coverage. Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

In a sort of revenge for District 11 of South Maui, State Representative Tina Wildberger once again defeated leading Democratic challenger Don Couch, who ran for the seat that represents Kihei two years ago. , Wailea and Makena.

“I feel very justified” Wildberger said Saturday night. “I am truly delighted that our district voters rejected the negative campaigns and asked to hear about the issues. “

Wildberger got 2,876 votes, or 58.9%, in the final tally early Sunday morning. Couch won 1,466 votes, or 30.7%. White votes numbered 531, representing 10.9 percent.

In the 2018 election, first-time candidate Wildberger received 2,181 votes, or nearly 57 percent, compared to 1,505 votes, or 30 percent, for Couch, who previously held the residence seat of Maui County Council. in South Maui.

Couch, who is Executive Assistant to Mayor Michael Victorino, said on Saturday night he knew the race would be tough.

TINA WILDBERGER feels justified

“You know, there were more people who came to vote, but it was a tough struggle”, he said. “It was not unexpected.”

Couch said the start helped his opponent. Additionally, campaigning during a pandemic made it difficult to go door-to-door, he said, adding that he had done direct mail and a lot of digital advertising.

The loss won’t deter Couch from helping his community, however. He said he would continue to work with the mayor to guide the county during the pandemic.

“I’m just going to focus on helping people get through this COVID-19”, he said.

Wildberger said his house was “Mac Gyvered” on election night: state television was on in the living room, county television could be heard in the kitchen, friends and supporters appeared on Zoom on a laptop and an iPad was set up for it can talk to the media.

“How difficult would it be if we didn’t have the technology or the ability to reach out? It would be even more difficult than today. she said. “I am grateful to have my husband and my dogs. Some lonely people need to be able to reach out and connect. “

The licensee said she uses direct mail, stimulating social media posts and “almost all” campaign for re-election.

Wildberger, she is grateful for the support of voters in South Maui, and she looks forward to meeting the challenges voters face.

With the increase in the number of COVID-19, the unemployment crisis, climate change and tourism management issues, she said, there is still a lot to be done.

“It is an extremely serious period”, she said. “There are a record number of unemployed people who want to hear inspiration to rebuild our new normal and our economy.”

Meanwhile, another incumbent, Democratic Representative Angus McKelvey, also comfortably defended his seat against Leonard K. Nakoa III, winning 2,262 votes, or 55.9 percent, against 1,155 votes for Nakoa, or 28.5 percent. . There were 615 blank votes (15.2 percent).

Republican Kanamu Balinbin, who ran unopposed in the primary and won 426 votes, or 34.9%, with 795 blank votes, or 65.1%, is also vying for the seat of McKelvey District 10 which covers west Maui to north Kihei. Travis Gyldstrand, Aloha Aina’s only candidate for District 10, garnered 75 votes, or 62 percent, with 46 blank votes, or 38 percent.

Democratic Representative Justin Woodson was the only House lawmaker to run unopposed in the primary. He received 3,610 votes, or 78.6 percent, with 978 blank votes, or 21.3 percent, and five top votes. Her opponent in the general elections in District 9 of Kahului is Kahala Jen Chrupalyk, candidate for Aloha Aina, who obtained 80 votes, or 72.7%, with 30 blank votes, or 27.3%.

Democratic Senator Gil Keith-Agaran, meanwhile, is the only Maui County senator to be re-elected this year. He ran unopposed in the primary, garnering 8,738 votes, or 74.5%, with 2,973 blank votes, or 25.4%. Her opponents in the general election in District 5 of Central Maui are Republican Christy Kajiwara-Gusman, who won 1,203 votes, or 50.8%, with 1,163 blank votes, or 49.1%, and candidate for Aloha Aina Rynette Ipo Keen, who obtained 217 votes, or 68.5%. , with 100 blank votes, or 31.5%.

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