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Editor’s Note:Civil Beat is visiting local TV stations again this campaign season to track how much money is being spent on political candidates and issues. The Public File is a regular series that compiles records kept by network and cable stations in Honolulu showing ad buys made by campaigns and political committees. The records, which are required to be made public under federal law, are expected to be posted publicly on the stations’ websites beginning in July. But for now we’re still picking up paper copies, scanning them into our system and posting them online. Check out our Ad Watch series, too, in which Civil Beat writers review the latest political spots airing on TV and the Internet.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is stepping up his television ad buys as the Aug. 9 primary draws closer.
Schatz spent nearly $80,000 in just two weeks, buying hundreds of spots on all Hawaii’s major TV stations and Time Warner Oceanic Cable, according to public records kept by the stations.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
From June 2 to June 15, Schatz’s spots are slated to appear 422 times.
The senator, who is running to keep the seat he was appointed to after the death in December 2012 of longtime Sen. Dan Inouye, is emerging as the big spender so far this campaign season.
Schatz has spent more than $450,305 on ads this year, according to the files.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who also is vying for the Senate seat in the Democratic primary, spent considerably less money in June than Schatz. Her ad buys from May 23 to June 8, totaled $44,591, less than half what Schatz spent in a two-week period.
Hanabusa bought 113 TV spots between late May and the end of this week. None are on cable.
Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang who is running for the Congressional District 1 seat being vacated by Hanabusa was the big spender among a large field of candidates in that race. From May 15 to May 25, Chang spent $19,446 split between 47 spots on KHON, KITV and Hawaii News Now.
State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, also vying for the Congressional District 1 seat, spent just $3,330 on 12 spots from May 19 to May 25.
In the race for governor, incumbent Neil Abercrombie paid for 193 spots from May 26 extending to the end of June. Abercrombie is paying about $60,000 for the ads on the major networks and cable.
On the Republican side, Duke Aiona spent $40,065 for 125 spots airing on KHON, KITV and Hawaii News Now from May 26 to June 8. Aiona is seen as the frontrunner in the Republican primary.
Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, who is facing a strong primary challenge from state Sen. Clayton Hee, spent nearly $40,000 for about 90 ads in the past two weeks.
So far, candidates have spent approximately $1.3 million on ads this year, the public files show.