Honolulu, Hawaii municipal elections, 2014

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The city of Honolulu, Hawaii will hold nonpartisan elections for city council on November 4, 2014. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 3, 2014.[1]

Four of the city's nine council seats are up for election. In districts 2 and 6, incumbents are running for reelection. These are Ernie Martin and Carol Fukunaga, respectively. Districts 4 and 8, on the other hand, are open seats.

A primary election took place on August 9, 2014. In races where one candidate received more than 50% of the total votes cast, they won outright. In races where no candidate received more than 50% of the total vote, a run-off election will be held on November 4, 2014. In the District 2 primary, incumbent Ernie Martin defeated Dave Burlew and Dan Hara. In the District 8 primary, which was an open seat, Brandon Elefante defeated Russ Grunch, Baybee Hufana-Ablan and Brysen Poulton. These races will not advance to the general election. In districts 4 and 6, however, no candidate received a majority. The winners of these seats will be determined in November.[2]

Homelessness, affordability and traffic are some of the key issues shaping Honolulu's 2014 election cycle.

City council

Candidate list

District 2

August 9 Primary election candidates:

District 4

Note: Incumbent Stanley Chang is not running for re-election.

August 9 Primary election candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

District 6

August 9 Primary election candidates:

November 4 General election candidates:

District 8

Note: Incumbent Breene Harimoto is not running for re-election.

August 9 Primary election candidates:

Election results

Primary election

Honolulu City Council, District 2 Nonpartisan Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngErnie Martin Incumbent 63.5% 10,831
Dave Burlew 5.3% 903
Dan Hara 14.4% 2,456
Blank or Over Votes 16.8% 2,868
Total Votes 17,058
Source: Hawaii Secretary of State
Honolulu City Council, District 4 Nonpartisan Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngTommy Waters 32.8% 10,110
Green check mark transparent.pngTrevor Ozawa 26% 8,012
Natalie J. Iwasa 22.5% 6,937
Carl Strouble 1.6% 501
Blank or Over Votes 17.2% 5,300
Total Votes 30,860
Source: Hawaii Secretary of State
Honolulu City Council, District 6 Nonpartisan Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngCarol Fukunaga Incumbent 42.5% 11,412
Green check mark transparent.pngSam Aiona 22.7% 6,106
Steve Miller 4.2% 1,131
Joli Tokusato 17.8% 4,776
Blank or Over Votes 12.8% 3,453
Total Votes 26,878
Source: Hawaii Secretary of State
Honolulu City Council, District 8 Nonpartisan Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBrandon Elefante* 47.7% 11,520
Baybee Hufana-Ablan 13.6% 3,275
Russ Grunch 5.8% 1,411
Brysen Poulton 7.1% 1,724
Blank or Over Votes 25.8% 6,235
Total Votes 24,165
Source: Hawaii Secretary of State

*Note: Because Brandon Elefante received more votes than the combined votes of his opponents, he was declared the winner.


As November 4 approaches, several key issues have begun to emerge in Honolulu. Below, Ballotpedia highlights what they are and how they are impacting the city's 2014 elections.


A central question in Honolulu politics is what to do about the city's homeless population. Recent estimates have put this population at over 7,000.[3] In addition to being a humanitarian and public safety issue, homelessness has also become an economic issue because of its impact on tourism. In 2014, tourism industry officials pushed for stronger laws to prevent homeless people from sitting or laying down on sidewalks in popular tourist destinations such as the city's Waikiki area. The Honolulu City Council approved a measure to that effect in September 2014.[4] Nonetheless, the problem of homelessness has continued to be a major topic of discussion in Honolulu and has entered in to larger discussions of affordability and urban housing. For many 2014 city council candidates, it has become a top priority.[5]


Closely connected to Honolulu's homelessness problem is affordability. According to the financial site Nerdwallet.com, as of October 2014, Honolulu's median household income hovers around $56,939, while the median price for a three bedroom home in the city averages $784,071 (a two bedroom apartment is around $2,987 per month).[6] This makes Honolulu one of the most expensive cities - at least in terms of home ownership - in the United States.[7]

City council candidates have proposed various plans to address this issue such as reforming city housing and land-use policies to encourage developers to build low-income housing and supporting the city's "Housing First" initiative, a city-funded program which focuses on providing housing for homeless or low-income residents.[8]

Another side of the affordability issue is a property tax increase on non-occupant houses valued at $1 million or more that the Honolulu City Council approved in 2014. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who supported the increase, stated that the measure was necessary to raise new city revenues, saying in July 2013, "We're going to have to look for ways to cut costs and look to enhance revenue, whether that's raising real property taxes or other types of fees. There's no other way. There is some give and take here, but as the price of government goes up, we have to meet the demands and expenses."[9] The issue has become a frequent topic of debate in city council candidate forums.[5]


Honolulu has become notorious in recent years for its traffic congestion. In 2013, the international traffic research group, INRIX, ranked Honolulu second on its top ten list of cities with the worst traffic problems in the United States. INRIX found that the average Honolulu driver spent roughly 60 hours in traffic in 2013 - an uptick of about 10 hours from 2012. To help alleviate this problem, the city announced plans for a $5.7 billion elevated rail line that will crisscross roughly 20 miles throughout the city. Many city council candidates, however, have argued that the new rail line, which won't open until 2017, will not fully relieve traffic congestion. Instead, several candidates have pushed for other, more immediate solutions such as an expanded bus system, new bike lanes and car-sharing services in addition to the forthcoming rail line.[5]

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