WASHINGTON — Democratic Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa far surpassed Republican opponent and former Congressman Charles Djou in the first fundraising showdown of the 2012 race for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.

Despite formally announcing her candidacy one week after Djou announced he would run for Congress on Aug. 17, Hanabusa pulled in almost twice as much in donations. Hanabusa received $143,204 in the three-month period ending Sept. 30, according to documents filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

Djou’s campaign report, filed Saturday, shows that he raised $81,411 during that period, 57 percent of what the congresswoman raised. Hanabusa reported having $318,768 cash on hand as of Sept. 30, while Djou reported having $243,932 in available cash. Hanabusa reported spending $85,432 last quarter, while the Djou campaign says it spent $13,013.

Hanabusa’s campaign got a boost from political action committees, which contributed $60,750. Those donations enabled her to soar past Djou, who only took in a single $200 donation from a California-based conservative political action committee.

Individual donors gave Hanabusa $82,454 last quarter, barely more than the $81,211 that individual donors gave to Djou during that period.

It’s no surprise that PACs lined up behind Hanabusa, who has the advantage of incumbency. The Djou campaign was quick to point out that the vast majority of his donors were individuals.

Djou now has a powerful Republican ally in the 2012 races. Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle announced last week that she’s running for U.S. Senate. Her candidacy brings national attention to the Hawaii Senate race as Republicans seek to reclaim a majority in the Senate.

Lingle has said she aims to take in as much as $10 million for her Senate race. The intensified spotlight on Hawaii is likely to draw more donations from national Republican donors, which serves to benefit Djou.

There are other major challenges ahead for Djou: In addition to taking on a Democratic incumbent in a solidly blue state, Djou is deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army Reserves until March.

Still, Djou and Hanabusa both have ample campaign experience — much of which involves running against one another. Djou defeated Hanabusa in a special congressional election in May 2010 when she and fellow Democrat Ed Case split their party’s vote. Then Hanabusa ousted Djou in the November 2010 congressional election.

If that race is any indication, both candidates are just beginning to gain fundraising momentum: Hanabusa and Djou each took in more than $2 million over the course of the last election cycle.


Discussion: What will Djou have to do to gain the fundraising edge three months from now?

Follow the latest Hawaii news from Civil Beat’s Washington Bureau at DC808.

About the Author