Updated 11 a.m., 7/13/2018

Gov. David Ige raised less money for his re-election than his Democratic opponent U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa during the first half of this year, according to finance reports filed Thursday with the state Campaign Spending Commission.

But he had twice as much money left to spend during the final push before the Aug. 11 primary election.

Both candidates are continuing to hold fundraisers as they pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into an onslaught of media advertising, traveling, consulting, internal polling, campaign events and more in this hotly contested race.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and Gov David Ige at a Gubernatorial Debate held at the Kamehameha Schoos.
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa raised and spent more campaign money than Gov. David Ige during the first half of this year. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In the most recent campaign finance reporting period, which covers Jan. 1 to June 30, Ige raised $734,000, spent $990,000 and had $688,000 still on hand.

Hanabusa hauled in $1.04 million, spent $1.4 million and had $300,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

During the entire election period, Ige has raised $1.9 million to Hanabusa’s $1.8 million.

Hanabusa and Ige dug deeper into the sources of fundraising that they went to during the last half of 2017 to get their campaigns off the ground at the beginning of this year.

For Hanabusa, that meant labor unions, commercial fishermen and a mainland-based energy giant among others.

She raked in $20,000 from 13 executives for NextEra Energy. The Ige administration rejected NextEra’s proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries earlier in his term.

Hanabusa received another $13,000 from tuna longliners, fishing auction owners and others in the industry.

And her numerous union endorsements are paying off. She received $6,000 apiece from seven different labor groups, including the painters union, plumbers and pipefitters, electrical workers and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.

Gov David Ige and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa at a Gubernatorial Debate held at the Kamehameha Schoos.
Gov. David Ige had more than twice as much campaign cash on hand as Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa as of June 30. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Ige, an engineer by trade, has returned to others in his profession for additional campaign cash.

Engineers with Ronald Ho and Associates gave Ige another $6,000 over the past six month and employees of Yogi Kwong Engineers added $6,000 more to their overall contributions to his campaign. R.M. Towill Corporation similarly kicked up their donations.

Ige has also received thousands of dollars from dozens of state employees who want to see him serve another four-year term, including several who work in the governor’s office and in his Cabinet.

State Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy, Business, Economic Development and Tourism Deputy Director Mary Alice Evans and Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation Director Craig Hirai each gave $6,000 to Ige’s campaign.

While most business leaders have chosen sides, Paul Kosasa, CEO of ABC Stores, is hedging his bet. He donated $6,000 apiece to Hanabusa and Ige.

“There is a definite swell of support as we continue our work for the benefit of the public interest and our state’s future,” Ige said in a statement Thursday. “Voters appreciate our record of real achievements made in all areas including education, housing, homeless, economy, the environment, and more.”

Hanabusa’s campaign issued a statement that said, in part, “It’s very encouraging to see our fundraising accelerate and our donor base more than triple. Most importantly, Colleen Hanabusa’s message of strong leadership is resonating with individuals on every island.”

Ige trailed Hanabusa by 6 percentage points in Civil Beat’s May poll. He was down 20 points in the Star-Advertiser’s March poll.

Green Outpaces The Pack In LG Race

In the crowded race for lieutenant governor, Sen. Josh Green raised and spent the most money during the first half of the year, and had the most cash on hand.

Sen. Jill Tokuda was not far behind and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. made quite a surge after not raising much money at all last year for the race.

Sen. Will Espero struggled on the campaign finance front and former Board of Education member Kim Coco Iwamoto’s report was not available at the time of publication Thursday.

Update Iwamoto’s filing late Thursday, which was amended Friday, shows she has $250,000 cash on hand. She spent about $372,000 during the six-month period ending June 30.

She raised about $87,000 during the first half of this year and loaned herself $442,000. Her grandparents started the well-known Roberts Hawaii tour bus company.

Sen Lt Gov Candidate Josh Green Democratic Party Convention Waikaloa Resort. Kona, Hawaii.
State Sen. Josh Green led the crowded race for lieutenant governor in campaign spending and fundraising during the first six months of the year. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Green brought in $273,000 during the six-month period while spending $656,000 on his campaign. He had $153,000 on hand as of June 30.

About 37 percent of Green’s campaign cash haul over the last six months came from 10 families and a political action committee.

The Webb family, who live in the Black Point community in Honolulu, has donated $24,000. Kevin Webb, who’s listed as health management for Islands Hospice, donated $6,000 along with Renee, who is listed as a consultant. Clayton and William Webb, students who live at the same address, also each donated the maximum $6,000 to Green.

Sophia and Mark Borneleit, who work in health administration for Avelon in Oklahoma, also each donated $6,000, as did Rumaldo and Tricia Arredondo, who are in healthcare administration in Honolulu.

Green, a Big Island emergency room physician, received thousands of dollars from fellow doctors and health insurance company officials, including Dr. Frederick Nitta of Hilo and Mike Gold, an HMSA executive.

He also received a little help from his Senate colleagues, Sens. Mike Gabbard and Karl Rhoads.

Green also secured a $6,000 contribution from the Carpenters PAC.

(Meanwhile, a super PAC funded by the carpenters union is reporting spending another $250,000 on an independent campaign in support of Green’s candidacy.)

A couple dozen attorneys also pitched in with contributions to Green, including prominent Honolulu lawyers Paul Alston, Richard Fried and Michael Green.

Lieutenant Governor Candidate Jill Tokuda Dem Party Convention Kona.
Jill Tokuda was not far behind her Senate colleage Josh Green in campaign fundraising. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Meanwhile, Tokuda raised $253,000, spent $566,000 and had $90,000 on hand.

Her colleagues in the Legislature, who had already donated more than $30,000 to her campaign last year, gave her thousands more during the first half of this year.

The money came from Sens. Gil Keith-Agaran, Michelle Kidani, Clarence Nishihara, Roz Baker and Reps. Della Au Belatti, Linda Ichiyama, Takashi Ohno, Ty Cullen and Henry Aquino. They all used their campaign funds — not their own money — for the donations to Tokuda.

The Race For Governor

Tokuda received additional money from Jennifer Sabas, a lobbyist and former chief of staff to the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye. Sabas is now maxed out at $6,000. Her husband John Sabas, a lawyer, also gave Tokuda another $2,000 last month.

Sara Daly Hamakawa, administrative assistant at Kaimana Hila, Jennifer Sabas’ consulting firm, gave Tokuda another $1,000 in March.

State government officials and legislative lobbyists also donated to Tokuda’s campaign.

She has received $72,000 of her overall campaign contributions from 12 individuals and political action committees, including unions such as ILWU, IBEW and UHPA.

Carvalho, after only having $12,000 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, raised $216,000 during the first six months of the year. He spent nearly all of it on his campaign and had $41,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

His campaign received the max $6,000 contribution from the East West Partners PAC, based in Colorado, homemaker Ann Kadowaki and contractor Jay Kadowaki of Honolulu, and Ironworkers Local 625.

In the LG race, boosting name recognition is essential. The candidates are generally fairly well known within their districts, but often completely unknown elsewhere. Advertising, early and often, helps raise their profile statewide.

It’s technically the state’s No. 2 post, but the lieutenant governor has hardly any power beyond granting name changes and processing documents to convey some state lands. 

But being lieutenant governor remains a major draw for politicians who can use it as a ladder to higher office. Three past Hawaii governors and the state’s two sitting U.S. senators served as lieutenant governors. And the current LG, Doug Chin, who took over in January, aspires to serve in Congress.

Thoughts on this or any other story? Write a Letter to the Editor. Send to news@civilbeat.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.

Help power our public service journalism

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help power our nonprofit newsroom.

About the Author