Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, the Democratic candidate for governor, and his running mate for lieutenant governor have raised more than twice the campaign contributions of Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and his running mate since the September primary.
Abercrombie and former Democratic Party of Hawaii Chairman Brian Schatz brought in more than $973,000 between the primary and Oct. 18, according to the Abercrombie campaign. Abercrombie raised $703,000 during the period and has collected about $3.7 million overall. Schatz took in $270,000 during the period and has raised about $900,000 overall.
Aiona and state House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan raised $484,157 since the primary, according to state campaign finance reports. Aiona brought in $325,163 during the period and more than $3.1 million in total. Finnegan took in $158,994 during the period and $341,571 overall.
The Democrats’ fundraising prowess suggests they have momentum before the Nov. 2 vote. Abercrombie and Schatz also had more cash on hand available for the final two weeks of the campaign — $494,000 to $384,925. But both campaigns have enough money to compete and are receiving significant tactical help from political allies.
The Republican Governors Association has now spent more than $1 million since August on advertising on behalf of Aiona. The Democratic Governors Association responded this month with more than $224,000 in ads on behalf of Abercrombie, and a coalition of labor unions has also chipped in with substantial ad buys.
"In these final weeks, we have seen a growing surge in support," Bill Kaneko, Abercrombie’s campaign manager, said in a statement. "People have responded to Neil’s message of breaking away from the gridlock and frustration over the last eight years. The people of Hawaii don’t want four more years of the same. They are ready to join together and embrace change."
Kaneko was critical of the help Aiona is getting from the RGA.
"Our campaign is fighting against mainland Republican interests that are funding Duke Aiona’s ad campaign," he said. "These mainland groups don’t know anything about Hawaii and they don’t care about the people of Hawaii."
Aiona found such criticism laughable. He noted that the DGA and labor unions have spent heavily to help Abercrombie.
"Are you kidding me? He said that?" Aiona said of the Abercrombie campaign. "The guy that just got a big infusion from the Democratic Governors Association and a whole bunch of other people?
"Well, I’m beside myself," he said with mock outrage. "I can’t believe Neil said that. I just can’t believe he said that."
Dutch Hanohano, Aiona’s campaign manager, said the Republicans are thankful for the donations.
"We’re so appreciative of every donation, which moves us closer to electing Duke and Lynn to create job opportunities, strengthen the economy and reform our public education system," he said in a statement.
"This is a real Hawaii-based grassroots campaign, and our voters have a choice. They can either vote for our opponents who would like to bring the divisive political culture of Washington to Hawaii, or vote to ensure balanced, honest and fiscally responsible leadership for all of Hawaii."
Abercrombie and Schatz’s campaign finance reports were not posted on the Campaign Spending Commission’s website by press time last night.
State campaign finance reports in the governor’s race were released yesterday covering the period between Sept. 19 and Oct. 18.
Source: State Campaign Spending Commission; Abercrombie-Schatz campaign