Just how much did it cost to win a seven-month seat in Congress?

About $831,970, apparently.

When Republican Charles Djou took the 1st Congressional District seat with 39.4 percent of the vote Saturday, it was also a financial victory of sorts.

The Honolulu City Councilman, who emphasized controlling federal spending as a theme of his campaign, spent the least per vote received. Djou’s campaign spending divided by the number of votes he received equals a cost of $12.31 for each of his 67,610 votes. By contrast, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who placed second, spent the most money through May 2 – some $899,204 or $17.03 for each of her 52,802 votes. Former Congressman Ed Case, placing third, spent $671,479 – or about $14.17 for each of his 47,391 votes.

Djou raised the most money of the three main candidates, $1,088,469. But he actually spent the least per vote.

Djou was also the most conservative by percentage of total funds spent. The congressman-elect spent 76 percent of his campaign funds. Hanabusa spent 83 percent, and Case spent 82 percent.

It was a special election that came with a hefty price tag.The State Elections Office budgeted $900,000 for the special election, and if it used every penny, each of the 171,417 votes cast cost the state $5.25. All told, the campaign costs of the three major candidates combined with the price to the state, almost $3.3 million was spent to fill the seven-month opening.

The short-term vacancy was created when former Congressman Neil Abercrombie stepped down in February to vie for the governor’s office, requiring Hawaii to hold a special election to fill the vacancy.

Now Djou, Hanabusa and Case must turn their attention to the Sept. 18 primary and the Nov. 2 general election if they want to win a full two-year term in Congress starting in January. That’s why each candidate used only a portion of the total funds they raised.

Going into the next campaign push, Djou holds the most cash on hand with $380,367, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, as of May 2. Hanabusa is second with $193,616 and Case has $153,549.

Candidate Total Votes Total Spent Total Spent Per Vote Total Raised Funds Cash on Hand
Charles Djou 67,610 $831,970 $12.31 $1,088,496 $380,367
Colleen Hanabusa 52,802 $899,204 $17.03 $1,084,812 $193,616
Ed Case 47,391 $671,479 $14.17 $821,302 $153,549

DISCUSSION: Did the Congressional candidates get a bang for their buck? Talk about it at our Money discussion page.

Candidates in the race for the 1st District Congressional seat used campaign funds to run TV commercials like these. Think your vote was worth its price tag? Share your thoughts.

Charles Djou

Colleen Hanabusa

Ed Case