HILO — New money flowed into state House and Senate candidates’ campaign coffers last month, but for most candidates racing toward Saturday’s election, it was flowing out just as fast.
Contribution and expenditure reports through July 27 were due Aug. 1 to the state Campaign Spending Commission. Reports of any last-minute contributions of $500 or more from a single individual are due Wednesday.
Kona County Councilman Dru Kanuha has pulled ahead in contributions over his former council colleague, Brenda Ford, in the hotly contested Democratic primary for the open District 3 Senate seat being vacated by Josh Green, who is running for lieutenant governor.
The winner Saturday will square off against Libertarian Michael Last in the general election. Last has reported raising no money this campaign.
Kanuha reported bringing in an additional $11,000 to Ford’s $3,567 in July. Kanuha’s money came primarily from trial attorneys, developers and the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
“I am humbled by the support of our public teachers, health care and mental health professionals, legal consumer advocates, local land owners, and others who believe in me,” Kanuha said. “Every contribution helps me and my team get the message out in hopes of serving the people of Kona and Ka‘u.”
Ford received $2,000 from the Patsy T. Mink PAC, which supports pro-choice Democratic women.
Ford said it was an honor to receive the PAC money because it’s a recognition of her role as a progressive woman candidate.
“I’m very honored to continue the legacy of Patsy Mink of anti-discrimination and pro-choice values,” Ford said.
Despite Kanuha’s money advantage, Ford characterizes the race as a “toss up.”
Patsy Mink PAC money also went to Jeanne Kapela, who’s challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Richard Creagan for the District 5 House seat.
Also on the Democratic primary ballot, Gene “Bucky” Leslie reports no contributions. With only Democrats in the race, the election will be decided in the primary.
“I’m honored to be supported by leading champions for women’s rights and our children’s future,” Kapela said in a statement. “I will always put the well-being of working families and our keiki first.”
Kapela said Creagan is “bought by Big Tobacco corporate lobbyists for Monsanto, Airbnb, and Alexander and Baldwin.”
Creagan’s campaign finance reports for this election, however, show most of his money is coming from fellow physicians, medical PACs and real estate agents. In fact, Kapela’s most recent report shows a contribution from the Hawaii Pest Control Association, perhaps in acknowledgement of Creagan’s work getting a bill passed banning pesticides containing chlorpyrifos.
“I think I’ve done well continuing my issues and getting passed the things we care about,” Creagan said. “I’m running hard.”