POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 01, 2012
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has loaned himself $150,000 to help beat back Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard in their Democratic primary for Congress.
Hannemann made the loan last week as Gabbard outshined him in fundraising for the second consecutive reporting period. Gabbard, who has closed Hannemann's significant lead in public-opinion polls, is also benefiting from independent spending on her behalf by EMILY's List, VoteVets.org and the Sierra Club.
Both the timing and the size of Hannemann's loan suggest concern about the direction of the campaign. Hannemann had previously loaned his campaign $12,000 in September.
Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Hannemann's deputy campaign manager, said Hannemann made the recent loan to keep up with the influx of "mainland-based special interest money."
"These independent expenditures have required that Mufi personally borrow money to enable our campaign to stay on message that he's the best-qualified candidate for the job and that his experience and effectiveness are proven and unmatched," Dos Santos-Tam said in an email.
"His opponent's campaign, in order to generate momentum, has taken on an increasingly negative tone filled with falsehoods and half-truths about Mufi, judging by her television ads and print material."
Gabbard raised more than $96,950 during the first three weeks of July and had $362,050 in cash on hand for the final push before the Aug. 11 primary. She has raised about $1 million overall.
Hannemann raised more than $41,750 in July and had more than $242,350 in cash on hand. He has raised more than $1.2 million overall.
Erika Tsuji, Gabbard's finance director, said Gabbard has the momentum. "Voters have had enough of the same old self-serving politics that has led to gridlock in Washington, D.C., and they are embracing the fresh leadership Tulsi brings," she said in a statement.
Hannemann and Gabbard want to replace U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who is running for U.S. Senate. Former state Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief advocate Esther Kia‘aina, Hilo attorney Bob Marx and patients' rights attorney Rafael del Castillo are the other Democrats in the primary.
The 2nd Congressional District covers rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.