WASHINGTON — State Sen. Kai Kahele announced Monday that his campaign for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District raised $216,985.62 during the fourth quarter of 2019.

That brings his total haul so far to $718,568.20.

Kahele wants to replace Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who announced in October she would not run for re-election so that she could focus on her presidential campaign.

Finance Committee members Sen Kai Kahele asks questions during a meeting with OHA, foreground, Ka Pouhana Kamanaopono Crabbe sits on the hot chair.
Kai Kahele appears to be the frontrunner in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in Congress. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Gabbard has struggled to gain much traction in her quest to win the Democratic nomination.

Kahele announced he was running for Gabbard’s seat in January 2019, shortly after she announced her bid for president. He has said that Hawaii deserves a member of Congress that cares more about serving their district than their personal ambitions.

So far, Kahele is the frontrunner in the race, and has secured a number of key endorsements, including from former Hawaii governors John Waihee, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie.

Only two other people have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission indicating they’re running for the 2nd Congressional District, which represents rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.

Both candidates, David Neil Cornejo and Ashley Noelle Famera, are Democrats. Neither has reported raising any money for their campaigns.

The deadline for candidates to file their fourth quarter fundraising papers with the FEC is Jan. 31.

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