Meanwhile, Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm said he is holding off announcing his plans.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has close to $600,000 in his war chest with just over a year to go until the next election, according to his most recent disclosure to the state Campaign Spending Commission.

The Friends of Rick Blangiardi committee has taken in $584,950 in contributions since January. The bulk of the funds rolled in after his campaign started fundraising events in May.

A variety of business leaders, developers and legal groups have so far contributed to Blangiardi’s 2024 reelection bid. Top donors include family members of the Kobayashi Group and the Resort Group, who collectively donated $10,000 and $6,000, respectively.

Blangiardi said he’s concentrating on governance and has made only several appearances at fundraisers.

“We’re focused on the work,” he said. “Job performance is what gets you reelected.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s campaign funds for a 2024 election run are only a third of where his predecessor was at the same time in the political cycle. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Meanwhile, Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm’s prospective 2024 campaign is running on fumes.

His disclosure shows he has just over $3,000 in cash left over from his successful 2020 run. He spent $410,532 on his campaign then. Alm declined to comment on the filing and said he would hold off announcing his plans until spring.

Colin Moore, a political analyst with the University of Hawaii Manoa, said the relatively low fundraising levels likely mean both candidates feel relatively safe given their household name recognition.

“Blangiardi’s going to be a difficult candidate to beat,” Moore said, adding that a lot of Alm’s potential campaign would be based on his reputation as a judge.

Although Blangiardi and Alm have relatively less cash on hand, Moore said each could easily raise more money between now and November 2024 — and more money can scare off potential competitors.

Blangiardi spent $1.46 million on his successful 2020 campaign and raised $600,000 in the first six months in office from donors. The bulk of that was used to repay loans Blangiardi and his wife had given the campaign.

By comparison, eight years ago Kirk Caldwell, Blangiardi’s predecessor, had $1.47 million cash on hand for his reelection bid at the same point in the election cycle.

Blangiardi dismissed the idea that he’s falling behind any fundraising goal, saying he has more cash on hand now than he had a year before he was first elected mayor.

Alm’s predecessor, Keith Kaneshiro, had nearly $50,000 and would have outspent Alm by more than $14,000. Moore described both Caldwell and Kaneshiro as “political animals” and more inclined to fundraise with or without strong competition.

Kaneshiro was arrested last year, accused of using the powers of the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office to wrongfully prosecute the enemy of a major campaign donor.

Jerry Bishop, one of the mayor’s contributors, said Blangiardi’s work with the homeless community inspired him to support the mayor’s reelection campaign.

“I think the world of Mayor Blangiardi,” Bishop said. “I think he’s going to take these initiatives and keep doing better and better.”

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