POSTED: 1:08 a.m. HST, May 20, 2012
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono raised more than double the campaign money raised by Ed Case, a former congressman, over the past three months in their Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, widening her early edge in fundraising.
Hirono raised more than $302,000 from July through September, according to a summary of her quarterly federal campaign-finance report. She has brought more than $900,000 to her campaign, including more than $200,000 transferred from her congressional account.
Case said he raised $136,000 during the past quarter and more than $356,000 so far for his campaign.
Former Gov. Linda Lingle has set a fundraising goal of $8 million to $10 million for her Republican campaign, but her early fundraising totals will not be available until the next quarterly report.
Hirono, in a conference call from Washington, D.C., with reporters, said Friday she will raise enough to be competitive but would not disclose a specific target. In her first public comments since Lingle announced her campaign, Hirono said Lingle has never run for a federal office before and has never run during a presidential election year.
"I think I'm disappointed in Linda as governor," Hirono said. "The way she went out and campaigned for Sarah Palin (for vice president) and identified herself with Sarah Palin, whereas I identify myself with the middle class, with the working people, with the families that are struggling. My campaign is focused on those voters."
Case said Hirono, as an incumbent congresswoman, has an advantage when fundraising. Hirono reported raising more than $211,000 from individual donors and more than $90,000 from political action committees during the quarter.
"Washington politicians always have a built-in advantage when it comes to raising money for political campaigns," he said Friday in an email. "Mazie is no different as we can see by her most recent campaign spending report."
Case, however, had access to the same potential donor network when he served in Congress but struggled to raise money in his unsuccessful primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, in 2006. He also had trouble raising money in a special election to Congress last year, when he finished third.
Hirono not only has outperformed Case in fundraising, but she also has won significant labor endorsements from the Hawaii State AFL-CIO, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the Hawaii Carpenters Union.
Case's advisers have downplayed the importance of campaign money and union endorsements, contending that the former congressman has always raised enough money to compete and can help offset the lack of endorsements through his grass-roots outreach.
In the Democratic primary to replace Hirono in the 2nd Congressional District, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he raised more than $306,000 over the past three months. Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard said she raised more than $125,000.
Esther Kiaaina, chief advocate for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Rafael del Castillo, a patients' rights attorney, did not immediately respond to requests for their quarterly fundraising totals.
Hawaii News Now video: Candidates start disclosing war chests for latest quarter