Editor’s Note:This is the first in an occasional series of reports on campaign finance.
With Hawaii’s Aug. 11 primary election three months away, several candidates in state and local races have stockpiled sizable campaign war chests, according to a Civil Beat analysis of campaign finance data.
Four candidates running for office this year have raised at least $200,000, with one state senator amassing more than $365,000 as of Dec. 31, the most recent reporting period. Three other candidates, running in the 2014 elections, have also raised at least $200,000.
Topping the list is Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who had squirreled $809,500 as of his last filing. The next campaign finance reports are due July 31, covering the period from Jan. 1 through June 30.
The governor’s post is not up for reelection until 2014. To put Abercrombie’s total in context, the governor raised $4.5 million in contributions for his winning 2010 campaign against Republican James “Duke” Aiona. He has another fundraiser scheduled for June 21 to coincide with his birthday.
Comparing the cash holdings of all candidates would be nearly impossible using reports maintained on the state Campaign Spending Commission‘s site. Campaign finance reports are not searchable, and the information contained in a report isn’t cumulative across an election.
Most of the data for this analysis came from a searchable online database recently launched by Jared Kuroiwa. He wrote code that pulls data from the commission’s site and spills it into his site. Civil Beat double-checked his totals directly with campaign finance reports.
Other candidates who had at least $200,000 stowed away include Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz. State senators Clayton Hee, Donna Mercado Kim and Josh Green round out the list.
Here are the rankings as of Dec. 31:
Donna Mercado Kim
For some perspective on Hee, Kim and Green’s contributions: In the 2010 elections, winning Senate candidates raised an average $86,707 for their campaigns. The average losing Senate candidate raised $14,404 that year.
Hee was reelected to his Senate seat — representing Kahuku to Kaneohe — in the 2008 elections. Hee raised $291,875 for that election and spent a total of $130,719.
Kim was reelected in 2010 to her seat that represents Moanalua to Halawa Valley. That election year she spent $128,184 and raised $146,443.
Green — who represents Milolii to Waimea on the Big Island — was reelected to the Senate in 2008. His campaign raised $198,941 for that election and spent $116,770.
Carlisle won a special election in 2010 to fill out the final two years of Mufi Hannemann‘s term. Hannemann resigned to run for governor. Carlisle’s campaign raised $598,107 for the 2010 election, and spent $521,586.
Arakawa, who served as Maui’s mayor from 2002 to 2006, was reelected to his old job in the 2010 election. His campaign raised $387,427 and spent $310,786.
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