With support pouring in from all corners of Hawaii and the mainland, U.S. Rep. Charles Djou and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa each have topped the $2 million mark in fundraising in their race for the 1st Congressional District.
Although Hanabusa entered October with more cash on hand, Djou is the overall leader, having raised $2.1 million for the campaign to date, including $390,000 collected in September. He had $395,000 in cash on hand to start October.
Djou’s campaign declined comment on the recent figures.
Hanabusa raised $336,000 in September, putting her total for the race at $2.03 million. She ended September with $547,000 for the campaign’s run.
"I am always extremely grateful to receive the support of Hawaii voters, including support through financial contributions," Hanabusa said through a spokesman. "Especially during these economic times, it’s difficult to ask for contributions, but we keep seeing those $5, $10 and $20 donations that mean so much to me because they show the support from everyday people who want to help me help Hawaii."
Aside from their core supporters in Hawaii, both also have benefited from the strong national interest in the race.
The seat has essentially been in play since February, when longtime Democrat Neil Abercrombie resigned to concentrate on his gubernatorial bid.
Djou won the seat in a special election in May, after Democrats were unable to rally behind a single candidate, splitting the party backers between Hanabusa and Ed Case.
But Case withdrew from the race a week later, leaving Democrats confident of flipping the seat back to their side in November. National parties have kept a close eye on the race as each seeks control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Hawaii has never voted an incumbent out of Congress, and Djou has proved to be a formidable opponent for Democrats. Most recent polls show the race to be a statistical tie.
Conservative interest groups that have each contributed the maximum $5,000 to Djou’s campaign this reporting period included Koch Industries Political Action Committee, Tuesday Group PAC, Congressional Majority Committee and the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund. He also received $3,000 from defense contractor Halliburton.
Hanabusa has drawn strong support from traditional Democratic groups and labor organizations, including maximum donations last month from Democracy for America, NARAL-Pro Choice America, Ironworkers Political Action League, American Association for Justice PAC and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Aside from direct support, both campaigns also have received plenty of help from various outside groups.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been among the highest spenders, having spent about $1 million on the race since the special election season began, primarily for ads against Djou.
Although the National Republican Congressional Committee had stayed out of the race, last week it joined the fray by committing $121,000 for television ads against Hanabusa. American Crossroads, the conservative PAC of GOP strategist Karl Rove, also began airing ads last week against Hanabusa.
In the race for the 2nd Congressional District, representing rural Oahu and the neighbor islands, Democratic incumbent Mazie Hirono raised $101,000 last month, pushing her total for the election cycle to $927,000. She had $368,000 on hand to start the month.
Her GOP challenger, John Willoughby, who received a call of support this month from 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, had not filed his most recent report as of yesterday. He had entered September with $1,923 in cash on hand.