(ABOVE) Joy SanBuenaventura joins Brian Schatz and others along Paradise Drive in Hawaiian Paradise Park last Wednesday, handing out juice for residents after Hurricane Iselle.
PUNA, Hawaii – There will be a new representative for Puna’s District 4 State House seat.
After Friday’s special election in Puna, held a week after the state-wide primary thanks to the devastation of Hurricane Iselle, candidate Joy SanBuenaventura tallied 1,628 votes (41.0%), topping incumbent Faye Hanohano, who has held the seat since 2007. Hanohano received 766 votes (19.3%).
SanBuenaventura will now face Republican candidate Gary Thomas in the general election.
SanBuenaventura was one of the first Hawaii Island candidates in any election to pull papers and announce her intention to run. Big Island Video News interviewed her in February (video below).
It has been a rough few years for Representative Faye Hanohano in the state-wide court of public opinion. Two controversies – an ethnic spat over works promoted by Hawaii’s State Foundation on Culture and the Arts in 2013, and comments she made in 2014 during a hearing of the House Ocean Management and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, which she chairs – plagued her public image. Big Island Video News filmed an interview with Hanohano about the political troubles in March. The interview was conducted by Tiffany Edwards-Hunt.
There were three other Democrats running in the primary race. Brian Jordan finished behind Hanohano with 549 votes (13.8%), Leilani Bronson-Crelly received 503 votes (12.7%) and Julia Peleiholani took 304 votes (7.7%). All candidates were present for a candidate forum a few weeks ago, organized by the Puna Pono Alliance in Pahoa.