He as yet faces no primary opponent and only one Republican so far seeks to oust him. But Hawaii’s senior U.S. senator has a mound of cash in his campaign coffers.

Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat, raised $1.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, increasing the amount of money he has in cash on hand to $3.9 million for his 2022 reelection bid.

Schatz, who was appointed to his seat in December 2012 and has since twice won reelection, received about two-thirds of his contributions from individuals and about one-third from political action committees.

Major recent contributors include Cox Enterprises PAC ($4,000), NCTA – Internet and Television Association Political Action Committee ($5,000), and Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal Political Action Committee ($2,500). Schatz sits on the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband.

US Senator Brian Schatz speaks on stage at the Democratic Party of Hawaii's Democratic Coordinated Election Night Celebration held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. 4 November 2014. photograph by Cory Lum
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is sitting on a campaign finance war chest of nearly $4 million. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2014

The incumbent spent almost $453,000 in the fourth quarter, which covers October through December. Significant recipients of Schatz’s largesse include the Democratic Party of Hawaii ($8,000) and Lori LaFave, a Washington, D.C.-based fundraising consultant ($10,000).

As of Tuesday no primary challenger to Schatz had emerged, but the filing deadline for the 2022 election is not until June 7.

Bob McDermott, a GOP representative in the state House, joined the Senate race against Schatz last month and has not yet filed a campaign finance disclosure with the Federal Election Commission. But he said in an interview that he has raised $1,500 so far.

Hawaii’s other U.S. senator, Democrat Mazie Hirono, is not on the ballot until 2024. But she reported about $860,000 in cash on hand and has raised a total of $1.3 million.

Recent contributors of note include Pfizer Inc. PAC ($2,500), Honolulu attorney Paul Alston ($2,000), and insurance executive Timothy Johns ($1,000). Hirono also paid $4,000 to the D.C.-based fundraising consultant The Kauffman Group.

Hirono was first elected to the Senate in 2012, having previously served in the House.

U.S. House Races

Kai Kahele, the first-term congressman said to be considering a run for Hawaii governor this year, raised $448,800 for his reelection, should he seek a second term.

Major contributors include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association PAC ($5,000), the American Federation of Government Employees PAC ($2,500), and the International Unions of Painters and Allied Trades Political Action Together PAC ($5,000).

Kahele’s major recent campaign expenses include $3,000 to Lori LaFave. He has $482,000 in cash on hand, and no one has formally declared their candidacy to oppose him in the primary.

Kahele’s Democratic Party colleague, U.S. Rep. Ed Case, raised a total of $612,900 for his reelection and had $643,000 in cash on hand at the end of December.

Notable fourth quarter contributions include the Across The Aisle PAC ($3,000), the American Retirement Association PAC ($2,500), the Blue Dog Political Action Committee ($2,000), Morgan Stanley PAC ($2,000), Raytheon Company Political Action Committee ($4,500), Home Depot Inc. PAC ($5,000) and UnitedHealth Group PAC ($5,000).

Individual contributors to Case include Llayron L. Clarkson, Jr., president of Houston-based Clarkson Aerospace Corp ($5,000) and Nadeem Meghji, a partner with New York-based Blackstone ($2,900). Case sits on the House Appropriations Committee and one of its subcommittees, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

Case’s largest expenses in the fourth quarter (more than $14,000) were to Eckert & Associates, a D.C.-based fundraising consultant.

Case was elected to the 1st Congressional District seat in 2019. He represented the 2nd District from 2002 to 2007.

Sergio Alcubilla, a first-time candidate who is running against Case in the Aug. 13 primary, raised $50,000 and spent $32,700.

Alcubilla, who does not accept corporate PAC or corporate donations, said in an interview that 70% of his contributors were from Hawaii and that about half of those contributed $27 each or less.

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