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Last minute filers cut it close as nominations close

County Clerk Danny Mateo displays the candidates' roster for the final day. (S Halas Photo)
Every election year has its drama as some candidates wait until the last minute to file their papers. The 2018 primary was no exception, but this year it was more of a comedy as folks with lofty ambitions did and didn’t make the final 4:30 pm deadline on Tues., June 5th.

Around 3:30 All was quiet at the office of the County Clerk when Jerome “Tiger” Metcalf (D) of Kihei arrived expecting to be turn in his papers as a candidate for the 11th district State House seat (S. Maui). He soon found out that he lacked a necessary notary stamp. Metcalf tore off at a trot with less than an hour remaining. He was back in a jiffy, only to find that although he obtained the stamp he had failed to fill out multiple blanks in the paperwork. He didn’t make the cut.

Out went Metcalf and minutes later in came Laurent Zahnd of Kanaio, who pulled papers to run for Maui mayor on Monday and returned on Tuesday with less than an hour before the final deadline to turn them in. With him came his adorable children: son Kanoa age one and a half and daughter Amana, age 5. The kids found all the grown-up stuff – like their daddy’s political future of minor interest, but his promise to take them to the Fun Factory when their visit to the County Building was finished definitely got their attention and they reminded him often.

While dad waited for his papers to be check Kanoa sat on the office counter riffled through the hard cash dad planned to use to pay the filing fee, he played with a hibiscus flower, crawled around and through his dad’s legs and gave his sister a few pokes just to get her attention.

Laurent Zahnd, last-minute candidate for Maui mayor, waits while the staff reviews his papers as his son Kanoa plays with his cash for the filing fee. (S. Halas Photo)

The staff determined his paperwork was all in order, but he was one signature short. Well MAUIWatch believes in participatory democracy and we love cute kids, we signed on the last line and Zahnd met the requirements and we’ll now find his name on the ballot.

He had no sooner departed for the Fun Factory than a staffer went running after him at a full gallop to bring him back to make sure his financial disclosure was stamped by Deputy Corp Counsel Gary Murai representing the board of ethics. Departing again Zahnd promised the office staff that when he was elected mayor he’d put more color up in their drab office.

About the same time Selina Blackwell, of Lahaina arrived with ambitions to take a shot at the governor’s race as a non-partisan candidate. Only minutes later in came Calvin Kuamoo (D) of Wailuku carrying a sheaf of papers for the 8th district State House seat (Wailuku, Waihee, Waikapu). Kuamoo didn’t have enough valid signatures to qualify, and he didn’t have enough time to get more. But with only minutes left he put his John Henry on the dotted line for Blackwell who clasped her hands in prayer while she waited to find out if all her paperwork was in order. It was 4:29 pm when she qualified.

Making it work: Selina Blackwell a candidate for Governor whose paperwork was acceptable, stands with Calvin Kuamoo a candidate for State House who didn’t meet the requirements.

Despite the excitement during the last hour, County Clerk Danny Mateo said the final day had been relatively quiet. Overall Mateo said he’d noticed more women and more first time candidates … “people we haven’t seen before” were running public office this year.

He thought that trend was a “good thing because it gives the public more choices.”

Mateo said that others qualifying for the ballot on the final day included Adam Borowiec of Makawao seeking the County Council seat representing Haiku, Makawao, and Paia; Michael Tengan (D) of Kula seeking the State Senate seat for District 7 including portions of Upcountry, East Maui, Molokai and Lanai; also filing was Edward Pirkowski (R ) of Kihei, seeking a shot at the US Senate.

At 4:30 Josiah Nishita, Deputy County Clerk locked the office door, and the 2018 election season was underway.

Let the games begin: see you at the Fun Factory.

See all the candidates for public office statewide who will be on the Sat., August 11 primary ballot at:
https://olvr.hawaii.gov/Controls/CandidateFiling.aspx?elid=82

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About Susan Halas

Susan Halas is a Senior Political Contributor at MAUIWatch. She has followed Hawaii politics since 1976 when she moved to the Valley Isle. She was formerly a staff writer for the Maui News as well as other local print and digital publications.

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