OHA Board of Trustees Primary Election Summary

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This election year, six of the nine seats of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA) Board of Trustees (BOT) were up for election: three “At-Large” trustee seats, and one each for Oʻahu, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island.

OHA’s BOT is made up of nine elected officials who serve four-year terms. Five of the seats represent specific islands: Kauaʻi/Niʻihau; Oʻahu; Maui; Molokaʻi/Lānaʻi; and Hawaiʻi Island. Four of the seats are “At-Large.”

This year, incumbent Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, trustee for the island of Maui and current BOT chair, ran unopposed and as such, was declared legally and duly elected following the candidate filing deadline in June.

Because there are only two candidates for the Hawaiʻi Island seat – incumbent Mililani Trask and challenger Hope A. Cermelj – their names did not appear on primary election ballots. Instead, both candidates will advance to the general elections. Incumbent Trask replaced former Trustee Keola Lindsey (who stepped down in November 2021) via a special vote by the BOT last March in accordance with Hawaiʻi State law.

For these reasons, only the three “At-Large” seats and the seat for Oʻahu appeared on primary election ballots. Following the election on August 13, six “At-Large” candidates will advance to the general election in November, and the election for the Oʻahu seat has been decided.

Eleven candidates competed for the three available “At-Large” seats during the primary election including incumbents Leinaʻala Ahu Isa and John Waiheʻe, IV. The top six candidates listed below (in order of votes received in the primary), will be on the general election ballot. The three candidates receiving the most votes in the November general election will take the “At-Large” trustee seats.

At-Large Candidate results
Brickwood Galuteria 92,028
John D. Waiheʻe, IV 80,491
Leinaʻala Ahu Isa 69,639
Chad Owens 67,032
Keoni Souza 63,025
Sam K. King 55,549

There were four candidates for the Oʻahu Island trustee seat, including incumbent Kalei Akaka and current At-Large Trustee Brendon K. Lee who opted to run for the Oʻahu seat instead of running for re-election to an “At-Large” seat. Incumbent Akaka won the position outright in the primary election with 56% of the votes cast, so this race has been decided and will not appear on the general election ballot. By law, if one candidate receives 50% +1 vote they are declared duly and legally elected.

In preparation for the general election, we encourage our readers to review the OHA BOT candidate surveys that were printed in the July issue of Ka Wai Ola. Here are the links to the survey responses for each of the remaining eight OHA BOT candidates (At-Large and Hawaiʻi Island) in alphabetical order:

Votes and stats were taken from the PRIMARY ELECTION 2022 – Statewide SUMMARY REPORT from Election.Hawaii.gov