Democrats running for the Hawaii House this fall have outraised their Republican opponents by a 4-to-1 margin.

The latest candidate filings with the state Campaign Spending Commission shows the combined campaign contributions that have gone to majority party candidates total more than $1.2 million.

Combined, Republicans have raised just over $320,000.

A handful of GOP candidates have actually managed to bring in more money than their Democrat opponents.

One Republican — beauty queen Tiffany Au, who is running against redistricted incumbent Scott Saiki for the District 26 seat (Downtown, Kakaako, McCully) — has largely kept pace in terms of fundraising.

But most of the 32 Republicans running in the Nov. 6 general election trail their 32 Democrat counterparts by large amounts.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro, for example, has brought in $80,814 this election cycle, compared with zero cash — that’s right, zero — reported raised by Republican Christopher Murphy. In fact, Murphy has already filed his spending report through next Tuesday, since there is practically nothing to report.

A good bet: Oshiro will easily win re-election to his District 46 seat (Wahiawa, Whitmore, Poamoho).

Four other Republican House candidates also reported raising no money.

Meanwhile, the top-ranking Democrat in the House, Speaker Calvin Say, reports having raised $173,027, and he’s got $126,175 in cash on hand.

Say is one of several lawmakers targeted for defeat by the Sierra Club of Hawaii because of the group’s opposition to the Public Land Development Corporation. The environmental group showed its political muscle when it helped Rep. Jessica Wooley defeat Rep. Pono Chong — Say’s top lieutenant — in the primary.

But Wooley and Chong were running in a reapportioned district, and neither has held elective office for very long. Say has represented the Palolo, St. Louis Heights and Kaimuki area since 1976.

Say’s opponents, Republican Julia Allen and Green Party candidate Keiko Bonk, have raised just $1,375 and $23,195, respectively. Bonk recently loaned her campaign $6,326 and currently reports a $14,564 deficit.

Needless to say, if Bonk manages to knock the speaker from his high perch, it will be an historic — and improbable — victory.

Majority Gains?

As Civil Beat reported Thursday,
Democrats running in the general election for the state Senate have raised a combined $1.9 million compared with just $145,300 raised by their Republican opponents.

That bodes well for Senate Democrats to keep their overwhelming majority — currently 24-1 — although several Senate races appear competitive.

Fifteen House Democrats were re-elected in the primary, and two others won open seats. Just two Republicans were automatically sent back to office; another retired and a fourth Republican chose to run for Honolulu City Council.

Democrats enjoyed a 43-8 majority in the 2012 session, and the question now is whether the party will grow that majority or whether the GOP will stop their losses.

One seat the GOP would very much like to keep is the District 11 seat in South Maui. In terms of fundraising, at least, the race is quite close: Rep. George Fontaine has raised $33,808 and has $8,252 in cash on hand; challenger Kaniela Ing has raised $31,429 and has $7,652 in cash.

Fontaine’s contributions come from groups like the Realtors Political Action Committee of Hawaii, Maui Hotel & Lodging Association and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers PAC. (Fontaine is a retired Maui cop.) Ing’s money comes from folks like Hawaiian Electric executive Robbie Alm, ILWU Local 142, the Hawaii State Teachers Association and House Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki.

Both are spending a lot of dough on campaign mailers, which is typical in legislative races. Ing, for example, spent $2,320 on mailers in the most recent reporting period, while Fontaine spent more than $5,000.

Another well-contested race is for the District 18 seat that represents Hahaione Valley, Aina Haina and Kahala.

Rep. Mark Hashem, who was reapportioned into a new district, has raised $41,068 and has $12,013 in cash. His contributors include party power-brokers like Water Dods, labor unions and fellow Democrats in the House like Jerry Chang, Kyle Yamashita and Ken Ito.

Republican Jeremy Low, who raised $18,774 and has $13,363 in cash, has had to loan his campaign several thousand dollars. He currently reports a deficit of $6,528. His recent contributors include the Oahu League of Republican Women.

Where are Low and Hashem spending their money? Yep — thousands of dollars on mailers and postage.

But both candidates also spent on more fundamental necessities. Hashem, for example, recently dropped $357 at Sam’s Club for fundraiser drinks and spent $592 on food and beverages at a fundraiser held at Aina Haina Chop Suey.

For his part, Low’s expenses include $20.89 for a cell phone battery at Battery Bill’s and $62.82 for ink cartridges purchased from Costco.

One other race where money may be a factor in the outcome: District 27, which represents Nuuanu, Liliha and Alewa Heights.

Rep. Corinne Ching, a Republican, has raised $14,680 and has $15,239 in cash left. But Ching also reports a deficit of $31,364 and has loaned her campaign thousands of dollars.

Democrat challenger Takashi Ohno, by contrast, has raised $40,040 and has spent almost all of it to unseat the imcumbent.

Campaign mailer for state House Rep. Mark Hashem, a Democrat.

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