HONOLULU (KHON2) — Two mayoral candidates will be moving on to Hawaii’s general elections in November. The candidates are Rick Blangiardi, who had 65,510 votes, and Keith Amemiya who had 55,002 votes after the third printout of the votes.

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Even though both candidates haven’t held a political office before, both say they’re prepared and ready to make changes.

“I don’t see that as a disadvantage at all,” said Keith Amemiya. “My career has been based on working with people, collaborating and getting things done. That to me is what is important to our voters.”

“This is a leadership job, and I’ve always been in leadership roles since I was a young person,” said Rick Blangiardi. “That’s what drove me to make this decision. I perceived we had a leadership crisis on the front, if you will, of some elected and even some appointed officials. I thought I could bring something to the place that I love.”

While only time will tell where Oahu will be in the COVID-19 crisis when the next mayor takes office in January, both candidates say they’ll be ready to respond if elected.

“… Trying to keep people from being evicted with all the resources we have to try to deal with that, renters and homeowners, to feeding our people… I’m really worried about the amount of small businesses that will be closing,” said Blangiardi.

“We need to do what we can to curb that spread we need to make sure that people stay safe and healthy. We need to make sure we can reopen the economy as soon as possible so people can get back to work,” said Amemiya.

KHON political analyst Dr. John Hart said these two candidates being on top means Hawaii is looking for a change, but it’s up to the candidates to convince people of their new plan.

“In many elections in Hawaii what we’ve seen is it’s not the candidate who loses, it’s the campaign that loses,” said Hart.

He expects both campaigns to ramp up in messaging, and he said he expects the two businessmen to duke it out for that mayoral spot.

“Now it’s down to two people. They know who the opposition is. They’ll get a lot more focused. You’ll see a more different, and frankly, much more hard-hitting campaign,” said Hart.

Hart said it will come down to where the votes from the other mayoral candidates will go and the additional votes from those that only vote in the general election.

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