Though the race is 14 months away, Joe Blackburn announced today that he’s once again running for the Maui County Council seat representing Wailuku, Waihe’e and Waikapu. Blackburn, a realtor who used to work as a Maui police officer, firefighter and safety director for Maui Electric Co., unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Mike Victorino in the race for that seat last year.
Blackburn’s Sept. 27 press release announcing his candidacy is standard fare for Maui candidates, mixing personal resume stuff on his local work and service with a pretty vague discussion of “issues.”
“Joe’s top issues include water, reclaimed water, recycling, sound fiscal management and promoting a healthy environment–the ability to use common sense when enforcing government rules and regulations,” states the news release, which was sent from Blackburn’s real estate company email address. “He brings an ability to implement strategies that will achieve sound fiscal management for Maui County’s budget.”
Blackburn is in an interesting position, even though Victorino thrashed Blackburn last November, 55.6 percent to 27.3 percent. Given the huge advantage local incumbents hold over challengers in Maui races, Victorino probably has every reason to think he’d do it again in 2014–assuming he just decides to run for reelection to his fifth consecutive term–which would be his last, under county term limits.
But Victorino may decide to run against Alan Arakawa for the Maui Mayor’s job. He’s been vague about that possibility, but that’s only to be expected this far out (the fact that the union which employs Victorino’s wife has already endorsed Arakawa is an interesting but by no means fatal problem for Victorino).
Should Victorino decide to play it safe and run for reelection, Blackburn’s candidacy will likely be disappointing again–especially if he gets outspent as badly as he was in 2012 (Victorino spent about $99,000 that year on the race to Blackburn’s $31,000). But if Victorino takes a shot at unseating Arakawa, Blackburn would be in a very good position to win.
But that’s all just pre-pre-campaign speculation. In the meantime, Blackburn is starting to raise money: on Sunday, Nov. 17, he’s holding a golf tournament at Kahili Golf Course. The cost is $130. For more information, check out Blackburn4Council.com.
Photo of Blackburn and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa: Blackburn’s 2012 Campaign Facebook page
About Anthony Pignataro
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He started work as MauiTime's Editor in 2003, took a couple years off starting in 2008, then returned to the staff in 2011. He's the author of "Stealing Cars With The Pros," a 2013 collection of his journalism and the Maui novels "Small Island" (2011) and "The Dead Season" (2012)–all of which were published by Event Horizon Press. In 2014, his one-act play "War Stories" won second place in the Maui Fringe Festival.