State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim has former University of Hawaii football coach June Jones’ support in her bid this fall to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in Congress.

Jones, who left the Warriors for Southern Methodist University six years ago, has given $1,000 to Kim’s campaign.

Not to be outdone when it comes to securing contributions from sports-minded donors, state Rep. Mark Takai has received $500 from UH Athletics Director Ben Jay.

Recent polls place Takai as Kim’s nearest competitor in the crowded race to represent urban Oahu for the next two years. But when it comes to raising and spending money, Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang is right up there with them.

The latest quarterly campaign finance reports distinguish the candidates, both in terms of who is giving them money and how they are spending it.

Kim is on top with just over half a million dollars in the bank as of March 31. She has $200,000 more cash on hand than Takai and Chang, but she’s also spent less than her Democratic primary challengers.

Chang spent the most of all the candidates in the 1st Congressional District race, doling out $116,543 between January and March despite raising just $122,196 during the same period.

Kim brought in $251,641 this quarter, spending just $39,199. And Takai raised $227,202, spending $83,056.

The other candidates in the race have raised and spent far less.

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson brought in $78,946 last quarter and spent $92,728, leaving him with $134,825 on hand.

In his quarterly report, Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan reported raising $41,547 for the quarter and has $32,621 on hand after spending $8,925. It’s his first report, having joined the race after the previous reporting period was over.

State Sen. Will Espero has $10,716 cash on hand after raising just $16,235 last quarter and spending $12,348.

Trailing the pack is Kathryn Xian, a Honolulu attorney and human rights activist. She has $5,567 on hand after raising $6,237 this quarter and spending $2,075.

From Sitka With Love

The campaign finance reports also reveal seemingly obscure connections — Takai’s hook-up for office supplies is a nonprofit executive in Alaska and if you want wine for an event ask Kim about Lisa Yoshino.

Identified as a Honolulu homemaker in the finance reports, Yoshino gave Kim $2,100 worth of wine for a campaign event in March.

Connie Sipe, the executive director of the Center for Community in Sitka, has given Takai just over $1,000, including an in-kind contribution of $632 worth of office supplies.

Sipe isn’t the only person from Alaska helping Takai. His finance reports show he paid her son, Kevin Groh, $5,700 for his work.1 Groh’s permanent address is in Sitka, a town in southeast Alaska, but he has been living in Honolulu since January to work on the campaign.

Takai’s campaign manager, Ellen Zeng, said Monday that Sipe donated the office supplies and funds to support Groh.

Buy Local?

The campaign finance reports also show how much money is leaving Hawaii for services like polling and video production that some candidates source locally.

Kim owes $23,000 for polling by Hart Research Associates and Takai’s biggest expense this quarter was $20,000 to Normington, Petts and Associates for polling and campaign strategy. Both firm are based in Washington, D.C.

Takai paid Snyder Pickerell Media, a Chicago-based company, almost $10,000 in January to produce a video for his campaign and be a media consultant. But he received some of that money back in March when Ken Snyder, a consultant for the firm, donated $500 to his campaign.

That’s not to say all their campaign money is going to mainland companies.

Some of Kim’s biggest expenses so far have been on signs ($4,000 to Creative Designs Hawaii), media consulting ($3,600 to Honolulu-based Marketing Strategies) and renting her campaign headquarters at Ward Plaza ($2,180 a month).

Takai rents an office from Bill Ramsey of Aiea for $1,140 a month and had signs for a fundraiser printed at Service Printers Hawaii for $205.

Chang’s biggest expenditures have gone to two Honolulu-based firms. He paid Anthology Marketing Group $52,694 in the first quarter of 2014 and he spent $27,500 on communications and finance consulting with Solutions Pacific.

The Bold and the Old

The biggest donations to the congressional candidates come from the usual suspects: lobbyists, bankers, attorneys, contractors, real estate agents, developers and hoteliers.

Red Morris and John Radcliffe, two influential Hawaii lobbyists, have each given Kim $4,000 to help win this election.

Chang is hauling in significant sums from developers. Casey Federman, Los Angeles-based principal of Irongate, has given him $4,000 and Jeff Arce of the Honolulu-based MacNaughton Group contributed $1,200.

But Chang has also received money from journalists, which is generally a no-no for reporters. Still, Guojuan Shen of Chinese Community Broadcasting donated $1,000 to his campaign.

Takai, a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard, has been able to bank on veterans and retirees like Janey Wong, Alika Watts and Carol Miwa who have each given him at least $1,000.

Kim can count on her colleague, Sen. Ron Kouchi, for support. He has given her $800, not to mention the $7,100 from Garden Isle Disposal, which his family runs on Kauai.

Takai has received a little love from his fellow House lawmakers, like Rep. Della Au Belatti, who has given him $450, and Rep. Tom Brower who donated $250.

But why take sides? Some donors simply sprinkle money on multiple candidates.

Big Island Candies Chairman Allan Ikawa has given Takai $600 and Kim $1,500.

Here’s a look at where the candidates stand as of March 31.

Candidate Cash on Hand Quarterly Receipts Quarterly Expenses
Donna Mercado Kim $534,893 $251,641 $39,199
Stanley Chang $331,212 $122,196 $116,543
Mark Takai $322,026 $227,202 $83,056
Ikaika Anderson $134,825 $78,946 $92,728
Joey Manahan $32,621 $41,547 $8,925
Will Espero $10,716 $16,235 $12,348
Kathryn Xian $5,567 $6,237 $2,075


In Hawaii, the all-important Democratic primary is Aug. 9. Historically speaking, whoever wins here will cruise to victory in the Nov. 4 general election.

Republican Charles Djou hopes to buck this trend. He announced his candidacy April 3, saying he has raised “well over $100,000.” The next quarterly filing report, due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15, will provide more details.

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