Mufi Hannemann contributed $150,000 of his own money to make up a fundraising gap against Tulsi Gabbard with just weeks left in the Democratic primary likely to determine the newest member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation.

Hannemann made the cash infusion July 24, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission last week.

New filings submitted by both candidates show how much they pulled in and spent during the first three weeks of July, revealing Gabbard had a $120,000 cash-on-hand advantage before Hannemann dumped his own money into the race.

The pre-primary reports cover the period from July 1 through July 22, picking up where the April-to-June quarterly report left off. The candidates are required to file 48-hour notices covering only the contributions they receive from July 23 through Aug. 8. That’s where Hannemann’s $150,000 showed up.

Gabbard’s raised $993,000 so far compared to Hannemann’s $1.24 million, including his own $150,000.

Gabbard’s pre-primary report shows she raised $96,967 from July 1 to July 22 versus $41,784 for Hannemann during the same time period.

She got $3,000 from Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy PAC and $2,500 apiece from Tatyana Cerullo, Pallas Chiogioji, M.I. and Thomas Kosasa and Carolyn Richey. Other major donors include Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Board Vice Chair Ivan Lui-Kwan ($4,500 total so far), attorney Paul Alston ($2,500 to date) and Hawaii First Lady Nancie Caraway ($1,000).

Hannemann received the maximum of $5,000 from Trinity Investments Principal Charles Sweeney; $3,000 from Brian Sekiguchi; and $2,500 apiece from Richard Dahl, Catherine Malshuk and Matson Navigation Co.

Gabbard spent $275,000 in those three weeks, a little less than the $303,000 Hannemann spent. Gabbard finished the period with $362,050 in her campaign war chest versus $242,378 for Hannemann.

Her big-ticket purchases included nearly $149,000 on television ads as well as more than $77,000 on direct mail services with a Missouri-based company called the Dover Group. Hannemann’s largest expenditures include more than $115,000 on advertising and $48,000 on advertising production.

Gabbard pulled in $17,500 more in the week after the period closed, according to the 48-hour notices. Hannemann received $14,000 — plus his own $150,000.

Compounding Gabbard’s fundraising edge is the outside money flooding into the race.

Three political action committees — VoteVets.org, Women Vote (EMILY’s List) and the Sierra Club — have together spent more than $465,000 to promote Gabbard’s campaign.

VoteVets has been the biggest player, with nearly $270,000 spent so far on television ads and mailings supporting Gabbard, who’s served in Iraq as part of the Hawaii National Guard. The Sierra Club spent nearly $56,000 on direct mailers promoting Gabbard on July 24 and 26.

EMILY’s List, a national women’s rights organization, has spent $138,000 for Gabbard so far this election. That’s more than it’s spent on behalf of any other candidate for the House of Representatives, according to the Sunlight Foundation’s analysis of FEC reports. All of that money was spent July 23 on TV production and an ad buy.

Hannemann, by comparison, has gotten modest outside help from the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly. But UHPA’s $18,000 pales in comparison to Gabbard’s groups’ spending.

That huge base of PAC support, combined with Gabbard’s fundraising advantage, means she’ll have a noticeable presence on the airwaves between now and the Aug. 11 primary.

“These latest numbers, coupled with the just-released poll from the renowned Mellman Group, really shows Tulsi has the momentum and has energized our campaign to get out the vote over the last 12 days,” Gabbard Finance Director Erika Tsuji said in a press release announcing the fundraising haul.

The poll Tsuji referenced, paid for by the Gabbard campaign, showed her with a 37-32 lead. Hannemann this week touted the results of an independent poll conducted for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now showing him with a 43-33 lead. A Civil Beat poll in June found the candidates in a virtual dead heat.

“With just a week and a half left before the election, we know we have the momentum,” Hannemann spokesman Tyler Dos Santos-Tam said in an email. “Our lead has been confirmed recently by Ward Research and QMark, two well-respected Hawaii-based pollsters, and, within the past two weeks, our campaign’s positive message has been validated by the endorsement of three of the state’s major dailies — The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, The Maui News, and West Hawaii Today. We are confident that on August 11th, Hawaii’s voters will choose to send Mufi Hannemann’s proven and experienced leadership to Washington, D.C.”

Gabbard and Hannemann are among six Democrats vying for the nomination next month.

Rafael Del Castillo raised $9,500 and spent $7,400, leaving him with $1,800 cash on hand. Esther Kiaaina raised $10,800 and spent $14,300, leaving her with $1,800 cash on hand. Reports for Bob Marx and Miles Shiratori were not posted on the FEC site.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face one of two Republicans in the Nov. 6 general election. Reports for Republicans Kawika Crowley and Matt DiGeronimo were not posted to the FEC site.

Hawaii’s Other Federal Races

In the other race for U.S. House, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa raised $16,022 between July 1 and July 22, according to her FEC filing. That’s slightly more than Charles Djou pulled in — $15,847, according to his filing.

Hanabusa and Djou face cursory competition in the Democratic and Republican primary elections, respectively, and are expected to face off in the November general election.

Hanabusa spent $34,400 in the first three weeks of July and had $480,000 cash on hand. Djou spent only $5,800 in the period and had $512,000 in the bank.

Filings for U.S. Senate candidates are available only in hard copy form and not yet posted on the FEC website.

The National Journal reports that Republican Linda Lingle raised about $172,000 and spent $468,000 between July 1 and July 22.

About the Author