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Vets group spending $100,000 on Gabbard campaign

By B.J. Reyes

POSTED: 07:58 a.m. HST, Jun 27, 2012

A group that seeks to elect Iraq and Af­ghani­stan war veterans to Congress has committed an additional $100,000 to television ads supporting Tulsi Gabbard in the race for the 2nd Congressional District.

The latest round of ads by VoteVets.org was scheduled to begin Tuesday and run for two week during morning and evening hours on local broadcast networks.

VoteVets.org said it plans to run the same commercial it ran in May, when the group committed $75,000 for a week of air time.

The ads are classified as an independent expenditure, which are not coordinated with a campaign, but can focus on issues that benefit a candidate.

Gabbard is in the Demo­cratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District representing rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. Others in the primary include former Hono­lulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chief Advocate Esther Kia­aina, Hilo attorney Bob Marx, Hono­lulu attorney Rafael Del Castillo and Miles Shiratori of Kaneohe. The Republican primary field includes small-business consultant Matthew DiGeronimo and activist Kawika Crowley of Hilo.

Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Hannemann’s deputy campaign manager, said their campaign was “energized” by grassroots donations from all corners of the state “and the endorsements we've received from dozens of organizations representing Hawaii's middle class families.” 

“As we travel the state and listen to voters, we hear their frustrations about independent expenditures and the influence of SuperPAC money,” he added. “If elected to Congress, Mufi Hannemann will join with his colleagues to institute common-sense reforms to our campaign finance laws.”

Hannemann has been endorsed by labor and business groups including the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.

The ads for Gabbard were paid for by the VoteVets.org Action Fund, the nonprofit advocacy arm of the veterans group, which was founded in 2006.

Gabbard, a former state representative who is in her first term on the Hono­lulu City Council, is a captain in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and to Kuwait in 2008.

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