Shan Tsutsui did not seek the position of lieutenant governor of Hawaii. The Maui native was said to be pretty happy as president of the Hawaii state Senate.

But when Brian Schatz was appointed to the U.S. Senate in December 2012, Gov. Neil Abercrombie needed a new LG. The Hawaii Constitution gave Tsutsui first dibs, and Abercrombie talked him into accepting the gig.

Now, with barely three weeks to go until the Aug. 9 primary election, Tsutsui faces one major primary opponent, state Sen. Clayton Hee.

Hee, who represents a district that runs from Kaneohe to Kaaawa to Wailua to Wahiawa, may have higher name recognition and a longer record of public service. But thus far the campaign cash is flowing Tsutsui’s way.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui at Democratic Party convention

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui at the Democratic Party of Hawaii convention, Sheraton Waikiki, May 24, 2014.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

In the reporting period that ran from Jan. 1 through June 30, Tsutsui raised nearly nearly three times what Hee did, or $356,000 to $122,000.

Tsutsui has also outspent Hee by almost $100,000, with the single biggest chunk of it going to Screen Strategies of Virginia for television advertising.

That’s resulted in what is arguably the most memorable ad from any local candidate this season — the “Just Call Me Shan” spot that pokes fun at pronouncing his uncommon name.

Tsutsui, who continues to work on Maui, also has spent a lot of money traveling to the other islands.

Sen. Clayton Hee Democratic Party of Hawaii State Convention Sheraton Waikiki Honolulu

Sen. Clayton Hee at the Democratic Party of Hawaii convention in 2014.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

But Hee, who started 2012 with $460,000 in the bank — the most of any state legislator — has almost the same amount of money left over in his campaign coffers ($323,000) as Tsutsui’s does ($357,000). That leaves both candidates with a lot of money to spend.

The LG race is a statewide contest, and that makes campaigns expensive. Like his opponent — and like most candidates for major offices, for that matter — Hee’s single largest campaign expenditure went to getting his message out. Becker Communications of Honolulu took care of website work, social media, campaign signs, radio and TV ad buys.

Hee was also scheduled to hold another fundraiser Wednesday night, his third fundraiser since he declared his LG candidacy in early May. The suggested donation was $500 a head.

Tsutsui has been aggressively raising money, too, though. He held six fundraisers last year and four so far this year.

Tsutsui LG spend 2012-2014

Campaign spending by Shan Tsutsui, 2012-2014. Source: Campaign Spending Commission.

The top contributors to the two candidates, as well as their top campaign expenses, are listed below. But here’s a few name-drops:

Tsutsui’s contributors include former Senate colleagues Ron Kouchi, Kalani English, Gil Keith-Agaran and Donna Mercado Kim. (Kim, currently running for federal office, cannot use her state funds in that race.) State Rep. Kyle Yamashita — a Maui boy like Tsutsui, English and Keith-Agaran — also donated.

Others giving it up for the incumbent were developer Stanford Carr, retired banker Walter Dods and Alexander & Baldwin CEO Stanley Kuriyama.

Hee’s contributors include Kuriyama, lobbyist John Radcliffe, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Steven Levinson, attorney Matt Matsunaga and Queen’s Hospital Executive Arthur Ushijima.

Hee's LG spend 2012-2014

Campaign spending by Clayton Hee, 2012-2014. Source: Campaign Spending Commission.

Others Seeking the LG Slot

There are three other Democrats running for lieutenant governor: Mary Zanakis has not yet filed a report, while Sam Puletasi reports an $800 deficit and Miles Shiratori reports a $3,292 deficit.

There are two Republicans running as well.

Elwin Ahu raised $69,552, spent $44,489 and has $25,062 in cash on hand. Kimo Sutton raised $16,736, spent $15,986 and is $13,986 in the red. Sutton also loaned his campaign $14,736.

Hawaii Independent Party candidate Les Chang raised $2,175, spent $247 and has  $1,927, left in cash. Chang is unopposed in the primary.

Libertarian Party of Hawaii candidate Cynthia (Lahi) Marlin, also unopposed, did not file a report with the state Campaign Spending Commission.

Top Shan Tsutsui Campaign Expenses, Jan. 1 – June 30

Vendor Amount
Screen Strategies $250,000.00
The Sign Source Inc $30,469.80
Hamburger Strategies, LLC $22,593.56
Obun Hawaii Inc $10,617.79
Pahoa Sunrise LLC $8,083.76
Hawaiian Airlines Inc $5,014.90
Sae Design $3,717.21
Kamiya, Keira $2,796.33
Matsuda, Eric $2,563.70
Upspring Media $2,081.15

Source: Campaign Spending Commission

Top Clayton Hee Campaign Expenses, Jan. 1 – June 30

Vendor Amount
Becker Communications, Inc. $173,151.40
Stuart Yamane Creative $20,418.84
The Green Apple LLC $13,439.79
Worldwide Words $10,471.20
The Plaza Club $5,448.18
Democratic Party of Hawaii $5,000.00
Webster, Nahelani $3,500.00
Price, Davis $3,000.00
Rosette, Kory $3,000.00
OceanAir Screenprinting Company $2,781.15

Source: Campaign Spending Commission

Top Shan Tsutsui Campaign Contributors, Jan. 1 – June 30

Donor Amount
Hawaii Committee on Political Education (COPE) $6,000.00
HGEA Political Contribution Account $6,000.00
Iwamoto, Arlene $6,000.00
Iwamoto, Chad $6,000.00
Iwamoto, Robert Jr. $6,000.00
Iwamoto, Tiffany S. $6,000.00
Medeiros, Robin K. $6,000.00
Tajiri, Brian M. $6,000.00
University of Hawaii Professional Assembly $6,000.00
Wintner, Robert $6,000.00

Source: Campaign Spending Commission

Top Clayton Hee Campaign Contributors, Jan. 1 – June 30

Donor Amount
Hirano, Amy $6,000.00
Iwamoto, Kim Coco $6,000.00
Matson, Henry J. $6,000.00
Ironworkers for Better Government Local 625 $4,600.00
Matsumoto, Michael P. $4,000.00
UNITE H.E.R.E. Local 5 PAC $4,000.00
Automated Health Care Solutions, LLC $2,000.00
Foster, Cynthia $2,000.00
Gill, Tim $2,000.00
Green, Michael J. $2,000.00

Source: Campaign Spending Commission

— Nick Grube contributed to this report.

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