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WASHINGTON — The controversy surrounding U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gave a big boost to U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono’s campaign fund.
Hirono, who has no serious opposition in November, received nearly half a million dollars in campaign donations during the latest Federal Election Commission filing quarter, which ended Sept. 30.
That’s nearly seven times her haul from the previous filing before the primary, and enough to put her above the $4 million mark for the election cycle.
Hirono raised about $329,000 during the April 1 to June 30 quarter.
A significant bump appears to have come after Hirono, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, rose to national prominence during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, which began Sept. 4.
She was an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump’s nominee for his conservative views on everything from a woman’s reproductive choices to indigenous voting rights.
When Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor, accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while the two were in high school, Hirono became even more of a national figure.
Hirono said publicly she believed Ford’s allegations, and during a Democratic press conference at the U.S. Capitol said it was time for American men to “shut up,” “step up” and “do the right thing.”
As she walked away she delivered the same message to Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s face.
Hirono’s words became a rallying cry for those on the left and within the #MeToo movement who were opposed to Kavanaugh’s nomination.
She was criticized on the right for taking such an aggressive stance given Kavanaugh’s vociferous denial of Ford’s allegations, as well as those that came from two other women who accused him of sexual misconduct and heavy drinking.
Hirono’s campaign also found itself caught up in some controversy after sending out a fundraising request based on the allegations. Her campaign quickly apologized.
Despite the fact that Hirono faces an unknown Republican opponent — retired engineer Ron Curtis — FEC filing reports show she’s spent more than $330,000 in the last quarter on expenses, such as fundraising and digital consulting, focus group testing, polling and ads.
Hirono, according to the latest report, still had $2.4 million in cash on hand.
Curtis, meanwhile, has not reported any contributions or expenditures with the FEC.
In Hawaii’s other federal races, former Congressman Ed Case, who’s running for the 1st Congressional District, has the fundraising edge on his Republican opponent Cam Cavasso.
Case has about $80,000 in cash on hand, which is more than twice what Cavasso had left over as of Sept. 30.
The campaign for U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who’s up for election in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, had not yet posted her latest quarterly filings.
According to her last report, she had raised nearly $1.2 million during the election cycle and had about $2.2 million in cash on hand.
Her Republican opponent, singer Brian Evans, has not reported any contributions or expenses.
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