The two leading candidates in the race for Honolulu mayor traded barbs over a new campaign ad that appears to take the race negative for the first time.
The 30-second television ad was bought by acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who has been trailing former Prosecutor Peter Carlisle in most of the polls in the race thus far.
It begins by touting Caldwell’s accomplishments, then contends spending in the Prosecutor’s Office under Carlisle "spiraled out of control," increasing 60 percent.
Material provided by the Caldwell campaign cites budget figures from 2001 and 2009, a period when the local economy was growing before the global recession led to smaller budgets throughout all levels of government.
Carlisle said his camp was analyzing the source material, but added, "It appears they arbitrarily took two specific years out of the entire time I was the prosecuting attorney — one year where our spending was substantially under budget, the other year where our spending was on budget."
Caldwell’s campaign stood by the ad.
"It is important that the people of Honolulu know the facts of Mr. Carlisle’s fiscal record," campaign Chairman Lex Smith said in a statement. "Everything in the television ad is factual and the facts speak for themselves."
The ad also criticizes Carlisle for taking six pay raises while in office. Carlisle noted he has been in the Prosecutor’s Office since 1978, and twice has asked the state Salary Commission to forgo giving him a raise.