Some Democrats running for the Legislature will win their seats outright in the Aug. 11 primary; no candidates filed from any other party so there will be no general election.
Civil Beat analyzed campaign finance data released Thursday in four of these races — the North Shore, Kaneohe, Mililani and Manoa — with an eye toward who might be in the best position with less than a month to go before the primary. The latest reports cover the period from Jan. 1 through June 30.
Clayton Hee, who dropped out of the race for governor, is running again for the Senate seat that he once held for a decade. He’s got the financial advantage over incumbent Sen. Gil Riviere.
In the race for the Kaneohe Senate seat, Rep. Jarrett Keohokalole has raised more money than Rep. Ken Ito, who’s represented the area for an additional two decades.
Mililani Mauka Board Chair Dean Hazama has raised more than former Rep. Marilyn Lee in the bid for her old seat.
In Manoa, first-time challenger Andrew Garrett outspent Dale Kobayashi, the Manoa neighborhood board chair who almost unseated incumbent Rep. Isaac Choy in the 2016 primary. Kobayashi has raised slightly more cash.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Andrew Garrett had outraised Dale Kobayashi.
Hee, who’s vying for the Senate District 23 seat to represent Oahu’s coast from Kaena to Kahaluu, loaned himself $100,000 this year to support his campaign, spending data shows. Hee wrote the checks to himself while he was still a candidate in the gubernatorial race. He dropped out of that contest last month, citing financial concerns.
Hee had more than $100,000 left in his campaign account as of June 30.
Rep. Ken Ito, elected in 1994, and Rep. Jarrett Keohokalole, elected in 2014, are vying to replace Tokuda. Keohokalole seems to have the financial edge, though Ito has an additional two decades of name recognition on his opponent.
Keohokalole had $68,000 as of June 30, according to campaign finance data. He’s raised $49,000 and spent $36,000 this year.
Ito’s campaign fund had $55,000 as of June 30. Ito raised about $20,000 less and spent $11,000 less than Keohokalole, by comparison.
Ito and Keohokalole both received donations from their colleagues in the Legislature. Candidates may donate to other candidates with their own personal funds and, through a loophole in state law, they can purchase up to two tickets to a colleague’s fundraiser.
Rep. Isaac Choy, who is not seeking reelection, and Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, who’s running for Congress, both donated to Ito.
Ito purchased two tickets to attend a fundraiser for Rep. Troy Hashimoto.
He also purchased tickets to fundraisers for state House candidates Lisa Kitagawa, Scot Matayoshi and Natalia Hussey-Burdick. All three are running to represent Kaneohe, and Matayoshi and Hussey-Burdick are running for the seat Ito will vacate.
Keohokalole received donations from House Speaker Scott Saiki and Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, two of the top House leaders. Sen. Stanley Chang and Sen. Russell Ruderman also donated to Keohokalole’s campaign.
Keohokalole did not donate to another candidate, according to campaign finance data.
Five candidates are squaring off for the House District 36 seat that runs from Mililani Mauka to Waipio Acres. Rep. Beth Fukumoto gave up the seat to run for Congress.
Marilyn Lee, is taking another shot at running for the seat that she held from 1996 until she lost to Fukumoto in 2012. In the 2016 general election, Lee again challenged Fukumoto, a Republican at that time, and lost by more than 3,500 votes.
Her campaign fund had $6,000 as of June 30. She raised nearly $9,000, loaned $1,000 to herself and spent $4,000.
Zuri Aki, member of the neighborhood board that oversees Mililani, Waipio and Melemanu, is running again for the seat. He ran against Lee, who is vice chair of the neighborhood board the 2016 Democratic primary but lost by more than 1,500 votes.
He started off this year’s campaign with $14,000 and raised $3,500, some of which was donated by family, data shows. He spent $12,000 and had $1,000 in the bank as of June 30.
Dean Hazama, chair of the Mililani Mauka and Launani Valley Neighborhood Board, raised $16,000 and spent $13,500, more than any other District 36 contender.
Val Okimoto is a close on Hazama’s heels when it comes to fundraising, according to campaign spending data. She’s spent $8,000 and raised $15,000, though she and her family donated about $2,000 of that money.
Trish La Chica, member of the neighborhood board that Aki chairs, has raised and spent the least amount of money in the race.
La Chica and family members have donated a total of $4,500. She’s raised $7,500 and spent $11,000.
Choy, the incumbent in District 23, including Manoa and Punahou, decided not to run for re-election. He won in 2016 by just 70 votes more than Democrat Dale Kobayashi.
Kobayashi is running for the seat again this year. He chairs the Manoa neighborhood board and his mother, Ann Kobayashi, is a longtime politician who currently serves on the Honolulu City Council. She’s already donated $2,000 to his campaign this year, the maximum amount allowed in a state House race.
Donna Mercado Kim’s campaign has also donated $230 to Kobayashi.
Kobayashi’s campaign had $32,000 as of June 30, according to campaign finance data. He’s spent $16,000 and received $35,000 in donations this year.
Kobayashi is running against Dylan Armstrong, Elton Fukumoto, Benton Rodden and Andrew Garrett in the primary.
Garrett has spent the most cash. Garrett and a family member donated $15,000 to his campaign last year.
He’s received donations totaling $34,000 and spent $28,000 this year. Garrett had $17,000 as of June 30, data shows.
Fukumoto raised more than $16,000, though family members donated almost all of the money. He’s spent $7,000.
Benton started off with $10,000 from a prior campaign, data shows. He’s also spent $7,000, but raised more than $5,000 this year.
Armstrong had not filed a report by Friday.
Thoughts on this or any other story? Write a Letter to the Editor. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes. And you can still comment on stories on our Facebook page.
Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.