Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie spent more than $2.8 million to win the Democratic primary for governor in September, or about $20 a vote in his victory over former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
Abercrombie raised $261,266 in the last two weeks before the primary and brought in more than $3 million overall, according to state campaign-finance reports. Hannemann raised more than $3.4 million, including money transferred from his mayoral campaigns, but did not collect much money in the final weeks as Abercrombie surged ahead in donations.
Abercrombie had $237,345 in cash on hand at the end of the primary. Hannemann’s fundraising totals were not available because he had not filed the latest campaign-finance report by press time last night.
Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona spent more than $2.4 million to win the Republican primary for governor, or about $58 a vote. Aiona collected $65,969 in the last two weeks before the primary — $2.8 million overall — and had $402,802 in cash on hand at the end of the primary.
Aiona has been raising and spending money on his campaign for three years, but some Republican critics have privately questioned why Aiona needed to spend so much when he had only minimal opposition from attorney and former state lawmaker John Carroll.
Aiona could have had a much larger cash advantage over Abercrombie if he would have curtailed some of his early spending. The Republican Governors Association has helped compensate with more than $768,000 in advertising on behalf of Aiona since August.
Bill Kaneko, Abercrombie’s campaign manager, has cited the outside money from the RGA in appeals to Democrats to help Abercrombie with donations. "Voters have a clear choice," he said in a statement. "We can continue eight years of gridlock and inaction or move in a new direction with a grassroots campaign of people who want real change."
Dutch Hanohano, campaign manager for Friends of Duke Aiona, said the campaign has had a "flood of support" since the primary. "We’ve been reaching out to Hawaii’s working families and small businesses across the state, and our message has taken root. Our citizens know that Duke and Lynn (Finnegan) are the only candidates for governor and lieutenant governor who will immediately create private sector jobs and strengthen the economy, and won’t put us further into debt."
Finnegan, Aiona’s lieutenant governor running mate, spent $170,629 for the primary and had $11,947 in cash on hand at the end of the campaign. She raised more than $182,500 overall.
Brian Schatz, Abercrombie’s lieutenant governor running mate, spent $628,376 for the primary and had $7,636 at the end. He raised more than $636,000 overall.