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Honolulu Voters Replace Three Recalled Councilmen

December 28, 1985

HONOLULU (AP) _ Voters in three of Honolulu’s nine city council districts cast ballots Saturday in a special election to fill seats left vacant by the recall of three veteran councilmen who had switched to the Republican Party.

Election officials and party leaders forecast a poor turnout because of football games, including the Aloha Bowl here, and voter apathy resulting from a long and confusing legal fight over the once-delayed election.

″I hope that those who were involved in voting to recall carry through with the rest of the recall procedure and vote to replace the ones they removed,″ said City Clerk Raymond Pua.

On Oct. 5, 62.6 percent of the 78,641 registered voters in the three districts voted to recall councilmen George Akahane, Toraki Matsumoto and Rudy Pacarro, who in June surprised their predominantly Democratic constituents by joining the Republican Party.

Nine Democrats and two Republicans sought Matsumoto’s seat, while five Democrats, a Republican and two independent candidates ran for Akahane’s seat.

Jean Pacarro was the only Republican among four candidates seeking to replace her husband. The Democrats endorsed Donna Mercado Kim, who resigned her state House seat to run.

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The party switch, which gave the GOP a 5-4 council majority, was engineered by Mayor Frank F. Fasi, a former three-time Democratic mayor who regained the office in 1984 after jumping to the Republican Party.

Before the recall election, President Reagan supported the three councilmen in television ads, while Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Gov. George R. Ariyoshi supported the ouster.

The question of whether Matsumoto and Pacarro could be candidates in the special election to fill their seats worked its way through both state and federal courts and remains on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court ruled that they were barred from the ballot. U.S. Supreme Court Justices William Rehnquist and John Paul Stevens separately refused to intervene.

The special election had been scheduled for Nov. 30, but it was postponed until Dec. 28 to give the Republican Party time to pick replacement candidates after the state Supreme Court ruled Matsumoto and Pacarro could not run.

Akahane, who was defeated by a large margin in the recall election, did not attempt to get on the ballot.

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