Four-term Democratic incumbent, Richard Onishi, defeats progressive newcomer, Shannon Matson in the primary election; Matson vows to unite voters for a Democratic win in November. 

Mountain View, Hawaiʻi, August 8, 2020 

After a challenging primary season, during which COVID-19 restrictions created significant obstacles to traditional grassroots campaigning activities, first-time candidate Shannon Matson ultimately came up short in the Democratic primary election. The votes were close, with Matson receiving 31% but, ultimately, incumbent Richard Onishi won the primary election. He will advance to the general election on November 3. 

“The traditional grassroots campaign relies heavily on meeting voters in person, either by going to their homes or by connecting with them where they normally gather,” explained Matson. “Although we were prepared to do this, the pandemic made it impossible.”

Matson expressed gratitude to her supporters: “I am so grateful for the trust placed in me by my community. They are the reason I chose to run for public service and their support has made the experience rewarding. Our team spent untold hours reaching out to community members to hear their concerns and share ideas for co-creating a thriving Hawaii for all. What I learned in the process has inspired me to continue advocating for our most vulnerable community members. I am not going anywhere.” 

Matson was also sure to thank her opponent. “I want to mahalo Representative Richard Onishi for his years of service to our community and congratulate him on his win,” she said. “I believe competitive primary races strengthen our democracy, and I look forward to connecting with him soon to share what I’ve learned during my campaign so we can better address the needs of our community and ensure a Democratic victory in the general election, November 3. Thanks again to my volunteers and family for supporting me during this endeavor.”