Amid a sour economy, Hawaii’s candidates for governor and Congress attracted a total of at least $21.8 million in support leading up to the general election.

Money came in all forms — direct contributions, advertising, attack ads, in-kind donations — and from varied sources — mainland groups, political parties, labor unions, direct support and personal loans.

The two most attractive races — as far as money was concerned — were the competitive bids for governor (Democrat Neil Abercrombie vs. Republican James “Duke” Aiona) and for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District (Democrat Colleen Hanabusa vs. Republican Charles Djou).

The rules for campaign spending were more relaxed this year after the Hawaii Appeals Court upheld a Maui decision allowing businesses to give directly to candidates without having to file a report. That was compounded by the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision, lifting limits on corporate donations.

The governor’s race attracted at least $10.3 million in contributions and support. National party money came through in the form of advertising to the tune of $1.24 million.

Despite having more cash spent on his behalf, Aiona lost the race to Abercrombie.

The Republican Governors Association dropped $1,016,804 on the race — $748,030 for advertising in support of Aiona, and $268,774 on ads opposing Abercrombie. The Democratic Governors Association spent $224,080 on ads opposing Aiona.

Local labor unions kicked in $200,000 worth of advertising in support of Abercrombie, and another $110,000 in direct contributions to the Democratic ticket.

Those totals added to sizeable fundraising efforts by the gubernatorial and “LG” candidates — a combined $8,731,427.

Abercrombie raised $4,208,482 through Oct. 29, including late contributions, while his running mate Brian Schatz pulled in $954,632.

Aiona raised $3,191,728, including late contributions, while his running mate Lynn Finnegan brought in $376,585.

Neither gov candidate was able to top the fundraising efforts of Gov. Linda Lingle, who collected $6.4 million for her 2006 campaign and $5.04 million in for her 2002 campaign.

The face-off between Hanabusa and Djou attracted at least $6.8 million in contributions and support since January. National political parties chipped in $2,108,052 worth of advertising.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $1,272,937 on ads against Djou and $252,044 to support Hanabusa.

The National Republican Congressional Committee and American Crossroads, a conservative group linked to former Bush administration adviser Karl Rove, spent $521,757 to oppose Hanabusa and $61,314 to support Djou.

The money added to fundraising efforts by the two congressional candidates — a combined $4,675,887.

Hawaii’s other two congressional races brought in $4,723,565 in contributions.

Candidates for U.S. Senate, Daniel K. Inouye and Cam Cavasso, raised a total of $3,756,034. Candidates for the 2nd Congressional District, Mazie Hirono and John Willoughby, fundraised $967,531 collectively.

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