A life in Hawaii politics appears to be paying off for two of the Democratic candidates vying for the chance to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa as the Aloha State’s congressional representative for urban Oahu.

State legislators Donna Mercado Kim and Kaniela Ing both out-fundraised Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin by significant margins, according to campaign spending reports filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

Those reports show Kim brought in $172,510 in donations during the final quarter of 2017, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, while Ing pulled in $82,757 in the same time frame.

Outgoing Sen President Donna Mercado Kim smiles and rides the private elevator after being ousted as senate president. 5 may 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim so far has raised more cash than anyone else in the race for the 1st Congressional District. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chin only raised $27,535 from 31 donors, which include his previous boss — former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle — as well as retired Hawaii Supreme Court associate justice Steven Levinson, lobbyist Bruce Coppa and former Attorney General David Louie.

Although Chin has boosted his profile by challenging the Trump administration’s attempted travel bans, he’s a first-time political candidate. Chin also didn’t officially form his campaign committee until Dec. 18.

Kim, who first set up her campaign committee in October. has a long political history that includes stints on the Honolulu City Council, in the Hawaii House of Representatives and, now the state Senate.

Her donors included executives from major companies, such as Matson and First Hawaiian Bank, and the president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, George Szigeti.

She’s also received money from top state lobbyists, such as John Radcliffe, Blake Oshiro and Coppa, as well as from political action committees for Hawaiian Airlines, the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the ARDA-Resort Owners Coalition.

Ing, although he’s only 29, has spent much of his adult life in state politics. He was first elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 2012 when he was 23.

He doesn’t have as many big-name donors as Kim, although there are a handful of local lobbyists, including Coppa, Oshiro and Melissa Pavlicek. Esther Kiaana, a former Obama administration appointee to the U.S. Department of the Interior, also gave money to Ing’s campaign.

A significant amount of Ing’s campaign cash — about $24,592 — comes from individuals donating $200 or less. His campaign committee was formed in November.

Campaign spending reports from Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin, who has also declared his candidacy for the 1st Congressional District, were not available Wednesday.

Martin didn’t officially set up his campaign committee until Jan. 6, which is after the reporting period.

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