Tommy Waters has raised about $97,000 more in campaign contributions than Trevor Ozawa this year in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4, which stretches from Hawaii Kai to Waikiki.
Waters reported raising $289,168 from Jan. 1 to March 29 after starting the special election period with just $285. He still has $43,487 on hand after spending about $230,000 this year, according to the latest state Campaign Spending Commission figures.
Waters has also benefitted from supportive unions. AiKea Unite Here, the political arm of the service workers’ union Unite Here Local 5, raised $170,000 over the last three months.
Ozawa has slightly more cash on hand with $44,226. He started the election period with about $28,000 and raised just over $192,000 while spending about $176,000.
As the incumbent, Ozawa outspent Waters last fall and outpolled him by 22 votes, but the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results, ruling some late-arriving ballots should not have been counted. The special election is April 13, but voting has already begun at Honolulu Hale.
Former city transportation services director Mike Formby is representing District 4 on the City Council until the election is decided.
Waters’ biggest contributors were several unions, including those representing ironworkers, painters and carpenters. He also received $4,000 each from Friends of Joey Manahan and Friends of Ikaika Anderson, both current City Council members.
Other well-known contributors to Waters included Honolulu Police Commissioner Loretta Sheehan, attorney Paul Alston and Tetris millionaire Henk Rodgers.
AiKea Unite Here spent more than $100,000 to support Waters over the last three months, including $60,000 on TV and social media advertising. The organization received $50,000 from the Ironworkers for Better Government and $20,000 from the Local 1 Political Action Committee.
Ozawa also received big donations from unions, including those representing Honolulu police officers and longshore and warehouse workers.
He got $12,000 from executives at Roberts Hawaii, a tour bus company. He also received thousands from executives at Kobayashi Group, Avalon Group, R.M. Towill Corporation, Mistunaga & Associates and other development and construction industry firms.
Ozawa said the list of Waters’ campaign donors suggests he will be a rubber stamp to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, a message he’s repeated throughout this campaign.
Some of Waters’ donors this year include Caldwell appointees and employees, such as his deputy managing director Georgette Deemer and human resources director Carolee Kubo.
In response to Ozawa’s criticism of donations from Caldwell supporters, Waters noted Ozawa’s donors included developers and lobbyists.
Waters said the City Council needs “respectful” leadership, a campaign message he has repeated on multiple fliers.
Tensions between the two candidates have run high throughout the campaign. Ozawa previously beat Waters by just 41 votes in 2014.