Political fundraising has lulled this year amid COVID-19, but before the pandemic was in full swing, Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell were filling their campaign coffers for the 2022 gubernatorial campaign.

Recent campaign finance filings show that Green collected $228,650 in the last six months, contributing to a $331,850 total – all without officially announcing a campaign for governor. Almost all of the contributions came in January and February, during which he held a fundraiser at the Pacific Club.

Lieutenant Gov Josh Green speaks during press conference on measles medical mission to Samoa.
Lt. Gov Josh Green has support from several people in the health care profession. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

His backers include attorneys Michael Green and Paul Alston, Title Guarantee President Mike Pietsch, lobbyist Bruce Coppa, Hawaii Medical Assurance Association Chairman John Henry Felix and former Hawaii Pacific Health Chair Karen Chang, who is married to mayoral candidate Rick Blangiardi.

Green, who is a doctor, is also supported by several members of the medical profession including orthopedic surgeon Doug Hiller, fertility specialist Thomas Huang and nephrologist James Ireland. Several political action committees donated to Green’s campaign too, including those associated with the Bank of Hawaii, the Hawaii Medical Service Association and the plumbers and pipefitters union.

But since the pandemic hit Hawaii, the state’s second-in-command has received only five donations, records show, including $2,000 each from Michael Goodman, a retired attorney, and George Mimura, an investor in medical technology. The other three donations were $500 or less.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell hasn’t received a donation since late February. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

In the last six months, Green spent $80,950, half of which went to Deep Blue Strategies, a Chicago-based political consulting firm. The agency is registered to Allen McCune, a former legislative staffer for Green. It provided services including campaign development and media consulting, the campaign spending report shows.

The campaign also spent $31,722 on the Pacific Club fundraiser, which featured musician James Wells. 

In the period from Jan. 1 through June 30, Green outraised prospective opponent Kirk Caldwell, although Caldwell has raised more money overall.

The Honolulu mayor, who also has not formally announced a 2022 run, brought in $35,284 so far this year and has collected a total of $737,857, campaign finance records show.

Like Green, Caldwell also held a fundraiser in February but hasn’t fundraised since. The event was hosted at the Plaza Club by attorney Mitchell Imanaka, the fundraising notice says.

His contributors include Brian Wong, the chief operating officer of the MW Group, which owns the Plaza Club; Michelle Kaneshiro, the chief financial officer for Plaza Assisted Living; Agnes Catherine Ngo, president and chief operating officer of Central Pacific Bank; and Daniel Ho, president of Hawaii Self Storage. 

Caldwell spent only $5,847 in the first half of this year including $2,100 for campaign software, $1,500 for food and beverages at a campaign event and just over $1,000 for various fees at Territorial Savings Bank. 

The mayor took in far more contributions in the second half of 2019. He raised $280,000 between July and December from many prominent people including over $27,000 combined from city employees.

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