The Sunshine Blog: Blangiardi Builds His War Chest - Honolulu Civil Beat

We’re halfway through our campaign, but still have a ways to go! Support in-depth, local journalism today and your gift will be DOUBLED.

Thanks to 823 donors, we've raised $121,000 so far!


We’re halfway through our campaign, but still have a ways to go! Support in-depth, local journalism today and your gift will be DOUBLED.

Thanks to 823 donors, we've raised $121,000 so far!


About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair, John Hill and Richard Wiens.

Short takes, outtakes, our takes and other stuff you should know about public information, government accountability and ethical leadership in Hawaii.

Mother’s milk: Just two months ago Civil Beat reported that Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi had only raised a modest amount of cash for his 2024 reelection. He said at the time that he was concentrating on governance and had made only a handful of appearances at campaign fundraisers. He held only two fundraisers during his first year in office and none in 2022.

Honolulu mayoral candidate Rick Blangiardi waves to oncoming cars along Beretania Street fronting the Capitol. October 13, 2020
Honolulu mayoral candidate Rick Blangiardi sign-waving along Beretania Street in October 2020. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020)

But His Honor has picked up the fundraising pace since then, including holding two fundraisers in early September and just last week. Both took place at Blangiardi’s home, and both suggested a contribution of up to $4,000 per donor.

We won’t know who or what gave how much to the mayor until Jan. 31, the next campaign finance disclosure reporting deadline.

So far Blangiardi has not attracted any announced opponents of prominence, but it’s still early, yeah? The candidate filing deadline is not until June 4 and the primary is not until Aug. 10.

Hawaii scores OK on redistricting: Common Cause and a coalition of groups (including Fair Count and League of Women Voters) on Wednesday released a report card on how the 50 states did with their 2020 political redistricting process.

Only California and Massachusetts earned an A- on the Community Redistricting Report Card, and no state received a grade of A. But Hawaii got a B- along with a few other states.

City and County of Honolulu Election Map. (Hawaii Office of Elections)

The grading process included detailed surveys and multiple interviews. Here are some of the points considered by Common Cause and company:

  • “Transparency: Were draft maps, meeting schedules, and other pertinent information shared with the public in a timely manner?”
  • “Opportunities for public input: Were there ways the community could provide feedback at different points in the process?”
  • “Willingness of decision makers to draw districts based on that input: Was community feedback incorporated in the final maps?”
  • “Adhering to nonpartisanship: Were maps drawn to benefit communities or political parties?”

Rounding out the bottom tier of the redistricting report card were Alabama, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Each earned an F “due to egregious partisan and racial gerrymandering,” according to the report. Those states “have a lot of work to do to improve their redistricting processes ahead of the next redistricting cycle.”

Hawaii is dominated by the Democratic Party, and over the years some Republicans have grumbled that the redistricting process is biased. But then, so have some Democrats who have opposed other Democrats.

  • A Special Commentary Project

E komo mai? It’s getting harder to get into the Capitol these days, a building originally hailed for its open-air design and accessibility. Elevator use is now restricted, stairwells are locked from the outside on the Rotunda level and there are guards who will ask for an ID and put a paper band around your wrist when you enter the Chamber level.

Now, Security Resource Partners has installed three magnetic gate arms to control traffic flow into the State Capitol at a cost of $80,000. They should be operational this month.

Magnetic gates have been installed at the Capitol to control traffic flow. (Chad Blair/Civil Beat/2023)

Two of the gate arms are located on Miller Street — one before the entrance into the governor’s residence, the other at the top of the ramp into the Capitol. The third magnetic arm was installed at the top of the exit ramp to prevent vehicles from entering the Capitol through the exit lane, according to Chris Kinimaka, the public works administrator for the state department of Accounting and General Services.

At least the reflecting pools have been restored — oh, wait, not yet. At least the ceilings don’t leak — nope, wrong again. (Repair work is in progress on both matters.) And of course there is plenty of parking in the well-lit basement — ha, ha, ha.

Organized labor: Two local unions just filed paperwork with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission to form noncandidate committees: Ironworkers Local 625 and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers – LEAP.

It’s not clear from the filings whether the Ironworkers and the Boilermakers intend to get into the donation game. Both have registered previously with the Campaign Spending Commission, but only the Ironworkers has given cash to candidates — and not that much, either.

But a noncandidate committee can make or receive contributions, and spend money. The work of such committees is invariably intended to influence elections.

Hawaii has dozens of noncandidate committees, including several representing unions. Some have been known to donate quite generously, especially to fellow Democrats but even to the occasional Republican.

They include the United Public Workers (AFSCME, Local 646 AFL-CIO) PAC, which gave $56,000 to dozens of candidates in the weeks leading up to the 2022 election. They included Sen. Kurt Fevella and Rep. Gene Ward of the GOP, though most of the candidates were Dems and most won their races.

A new state law requires noncandidate committees to file an organizational report within two days of receiving contributions or making or incurring expenditures of more than $500 total in a two-year election period.

Read this next:

Ben Lowenthal: My Hope for Hawaii's New Supreme Court Justices

Local reporting when you need it most

Support timely, accurate, independent journalism.

Honolulu Civil Beat is a nonprofit organization, and your donation helps us produce local reporting that serves all of Hawaii.


About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair, John Hill and Richard Wiens.

Latest Comments (0)

"Alabama, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin".Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't all of these states listed above have Republican controlled houses? And these Republicans are doing the most partisan gerrymandering in history right now? And they are led by the insurrectionist king indicted on almost 100 counts? And he who controls the level of violence in this country, and the violent mob known as maga? Yes indeed Alice, we have been down the rabbit hole.

Scotty_Poppins · 1 month ago

I hope that Mayor Blangiardi will listen to the many residents who are all speaking out against the large tower bridge planned across the Ala Wai Canal, at University Ave. And I hope that he supports what the people want, and not City departments, just because there are federal funds.

Greg · 1 month ago

If Hawaii goes back to having multi-representative districts, it would largely address this concern.Ah, Natalie Iwasa has noticed the same? And yet, I've seen claims on this website saying that the homeless situation in Downtown has improved(?!?), ever since the River Of Life mission moved out of Chinatown. Well, I can only say that anyone making that claim does not live/work in the area.

KalihiValleyHermit · 1 month ago

Join the conversation


IDEAS is the place you'll find essays, analysis and opinion on every aspect of life and public affairs in Hawaii. We want to showcase smart ideas about the future of Hawaii, from the state's sharpest thinkers, to stretch our collective thinking about a problem or an issue. Email to submit an idea.


You're officially signed up for our daily newsletter, the Morning Beat. A confirmation email will arrive shortly.

In the meantime, we have other newsletters that you might enjoy. Check the boxes for emails you'd like to receive.

  • What's this? Be the first to hear about important news stories with these occasional emails.
  • What's this? You'll hear from us whenever Civil Beat publishes a major project or investigation.
  • What's this? Get our latest environmental news on a monthly basis, including updates on Nathan Eagle's 'Hawaii 2040' series.
  • What's this? Get occasional emails highlighting essays, analysis and opinion from IDEAS, Civil Beat's commentary section.

Inbox overcrowded? Don't worry, you can unsubscribe
or update your preferences at any time.