Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has raised thousands of dollars in his bid for governor, but he has more debt than any of his competitors. 

Running on the Hawaii Independent Party ticket in the Nov. 4 general election, Hannemann had $174,812 on hand as of Aug. 9, the end of the last campaign finance reporting period. But he owes a local law firm, advertising company and others almost half of that amount.

In all, Hannemann has $82,703 in unpaid expenditures. His Democratic rival, state Sen. David Ige, reported $6,770 in unpaid expenditures, plus $70,000 in loans. Former Republican Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona has no campaign debt, according to the most recent filings with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann speaks during of gubernatorial forum at UH West Oahu presented by the West Oahu Economic Development Association on August 26, 2014

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann speaks during a gubernatorial forum, Aug. 26, 2014.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Hannemann’s biggest unpaid expenses are to two Honolulu businesses. He owes $23,448 to the law firm of Kobayashi, Sugita and Goda and $20,718 to Anthology Marketing Group.

Anthology regularly appears on candidates’ expense reports. Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang spent more than $167,000 with the company this summer on advertising during his unsuccessful campaign for Congress. 

The law firm is less common, although not for Hannemann. Members of the firm and relatives of its partners have given tens of thousands of dollars to Hannemann’s campaigns over the past decade, whether he was running for Congress, mayor or governor. 

When Hannemann was mayor, Honolulu was reported to have given Kobayashi, Sugita and Goda well over $1 million in no-bid contracts for legal services. The firm is huge in the real estate, business and development world. Messages left with the firm last week were not returned.

The money Hannemann owes the law firm is for legal research and services provided during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Hannemann campaign spokesman Hal Barnes said Tuesday.

The debt to Anthology Group is for providing advertising production for various media during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Barnes added.

“Those were unbudgeted, unanticipated expenses incurred toward the very end of the 2010 campaign after the campaign had committed our available money,” Barnes said.

Hannemann lost his 2010 bid for governor in the Democratic primary against Neil Abercrombie.

In addition to the unpaid expenditures from his run for governor four years ago, Hannemann owes just over $257,000 from his bid for Congress in 2012. That debt comes from three loans he made to himself between July 2011 and October 2012, according to filings with the Federal Elections Commission.

Personal loans are not uncommon in elections.

Hannemann’s opponent in the 2012 congressional race, Tulsi Gabbard, loaned herself $68,000 in the days leading up to her win over him in the Democratic primary. 

Without a serious competitor in her race for re-election this fall, Gabbard has been able to pay most of her loans back. She had the balance down to $5,337 after making a $5,000 payment in July.

Ige, hard-pressed for campaign cash, loaned himself $50,000 in August to help secure the Democratic nomination over Abercrombie in the primary. In June, his campaign manager, Keith Hiraoka, loaned him $10,000 and he received another $10,000 loan from Richard Ige. 

Hannemann hasn’t loaned himself any money this election. But he did give his campaign two $900 donations, one in June and another in July, according to his most recent filings with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission.

About the Author