Democrat Mark Takai has the overall edge in campaign fundraising over his GOP rival for the 1st Congressional District seat, but Republican Charles Djou held an sizable lead in cash on hand heading into the final weeks of the campaign, according to the most recent spending reports filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.
Takai raised about $480,000 in the period from July 21 through Sept. 30, compared to $371,000 raised by Djou. Takai has raised $1.2 million over the two-year election cycle, but also carries a campaign debt of about $55,000. Djou has raised about $853,000 for the cycle and has about $15,000 in debt.
But Djou has only spent a fraction of the amount raised and still has $626,000 in cash on hand for the stretch run of the campaign.
“Our strong financial position is a direct reflection of the hard work of my all-volunteer campaign team and the strength of our message — that we must lower Hawaii’s high cost of living, create jobs and take care of the next generation, but we can do that only if we elect someone who can work with both Democrats and the Republican majority in Congress,” Djou said in a news release. “While I am honored to file such a strong financial report, the only true report that matters is the support of Hawaii’s voters on election day.”
Takai, who had to spend heavily in the August primary to emerge from a crowded field of seven candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress, has used about $976,000 this campaign cycle and headed into October with about $244,000 in cash on hand.
“This campaign is more than just dollars and cents, we are a real team from our donors to our volunteers knocking doors and sign waving,” Takai said in a news release. “Together, we will continue to work hard to bring our message to the voters of Hawaii.
“At the end of the day, people know that retirement security, equal pay for equal work and tax cuts for working families are what I stand for,” he added. “Our support comes from the families, seniors, and students that I am working hard to represent.”
Takai has been helped in getting his message out by at least one third-party group which has taken out ads in support of his candidacy.
VoteVets.org, through its action fund, spent $182,000 on production and air time for television commercials promoting Takai’s leadership qualities. The Washington, D.C.-based group, which works to get Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans elected to Congress, previously spent $175,000 on Takai’s behalf in the primary.
The ads are classified as an independent expenditure, which must be focused on a clearly identified candidate or issue, and may not be coordinated with a campaign.
Djou has denounced such third-party contributions as poisonous to the state’s election process.
Takai and Djou are running for the seat representing urban Oahu in Congress. The seat was vacated by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who unsuccessfully sought a seat in the U.S. Senate.