How much can the Pacific Resource Partnership spend on ad time in a single week? Here’s a hint: it’s a hefty fraction of the $1.3 million the pro-rail trade group spent airing TV ads before the primary.

The PRP this week alone spent nearly $500,000 on ad time. That bought roughly 2,000 spots that are airing through the Nov. 6 election on KHON, KFVE, KGMB, KHNL and Oceanic Time Warner cable networks including CNN, the Food Network and OC16.

The commercial — part smear ad, part endorsement — aired for the first time Wednesday. But it’s already garnered a lot of publicity, in part because of how much money the group has doled out on ads attacking anti-rail Honolulu mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano.

As of Wednesday, PRP has spent nearly $2.2 million total on ad time this election season.

The first half of the ad, entitled “Leader,” champions mayoral hopeful Kirk Caldwell‘s honest leadership. The second half of the ad lambasts Cayetano for receiving illegal contributions while serving as Hawaii’s governor.

In reality, Cayetano did nothing wrong. It was the donors who were found to be at fault.

PRP’s spending is on top of the $300,000 another union-affiliated group, Workers for a Better Hawaii, has spent airing ads endorsing Caldwell.

Civil Beat each week has been stopping by Hawaii’s three broadcast stations to make copies of their political ad contracts. The documents indicate which candidates and independent expenditure committees have bought ad time and for how how much.

Broadcast stations are by law required to make these files available to the public. But the contracts are only accessible at the stations.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week spent another $100,000 on 453 spots that are airing on KFVE and a variety of Oceanic Time Warner Cable networks through next week. The Chamber’s ad endorses Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda Lingle and lauds her bipartisanship.

As of Wednesday, the business organization has spent more than $830,000 airing the pro-Lingle ads since the primary election. It has spent more than $1 million on local ad time this election season.

Lingle for her part this week spent $133,000 on 366 spots — and two-weeks-worth of her cable channel — that are airing through Sunday on all the local broadcast stations and Oceanic Time Warner cable networks such as Bravo, ESPN and FX. Some of her ads are viewable on her YouTube channel.

As of Wednesday, the Republican has spent roughly $630,000 on post-primary ad time, bringing her election season total to more than $1.2 million.

And another union-sponsored commercial attacking Lingle will hit local airwaves next week.

The local contingent of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades — District Council 50 — spent at least $24,000 on 103 spots that will be airing through late-October on KITV.

While no other contracts have shown up in the public files yet, District Council 50 political director Nathaniel Kinney told Civil Beat the union bought ad time on all the local broadcast stations.

Working Families for Hawaii, another union-backed political committee whose ad also attacks Lingle, this week bought six spots for $1,000. The ads will air through the end of the week on KFVE. As of Wednesday, Working Families has spent nearly $40,000 this election season.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mazie Hirono this week spent nearly $338,000 on 1,492 spots that are airing through early November on all the local broadcast stations and a range of Oceanic Time Warner cable networks. As of Wednesday, the Democrat has spent $736,000 on post-primary ad time. She has spent nearly $1.5 million on ad time this election season.

And Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Charles Djou this week spent $68,000 on 239 spots that are airing on all the local broadcast stations and various Oceanic Time Warner cable networks. As of Wednesday, Djou has spent nearly $117,000 total on ad time this election season.

Grand Totals

Total ad buys this week amount to more than $1.1 million, according to Civil Beat’s most recent review of the public files. As of Thursday, total post-primary TV ad spending was more than $3 million. Total ad spending for the entire election season was almost $9 million. Non-candidate political committees have spent 40 percent of that money, or more than $3.6 million.

About the Author