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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2003

Lingle's campaign debt at $170,000

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Gov. Linda Lingle's campaign was in debt more than $170,000 at the end of last year, according to campaign spending reports filed yesterday.

Lingle had spent a record $5.4 million in the past election — the most any candidate had spent in a Hawai'i governor's race — to become the first Republican governor since 1962. Her Democratic opponent, Mazie Hirono, spent less than half that amount, at $2.37 million.

According to spending reports, Lingle's campaign raised about $113,000 after the Nov. 5 general election through the end of the year. Those contributions, combined with a $128,000 carryover from the election and about $8,200 in various refunds, boosted her campaign coffers to nearly $250,000.

But during the same period Lingle spent $420,217 on items ranging from food, beverages and gasoline, to employee services, campaign headquarter's expenses and advertising — bill payments for services during the campaign. Lingle's campaign borrowed $173,012 at the end of the year from City Bank Downtown.

Lingle chief of staff Bob Awana, who also headed Lingle's campaign, said the campaign tapped its "revolving line of credit" to help pay vendors who provided services during the race.

"When you do that financial plan, you go ahead and you spend based on the expectation that's collected and in some cases some of the pledges didn't materialize and that's why you're left with a shortfall like that," he said.

Awana said he is confident the campaign will pay off the debt quickly, saying "the support base that we have will continue to support the governor's efforts."

The campaign has been chipping away at the debt as contributions come in, he said, adding that he expects it to be fully paid off by the summer.

"In June Linda always has her monthlong birthday party bashes and we see no reason to change that this year," he said.

Those who contributed to Lingle after she won the election included pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline, Roberts Hawaii Tours Inc., Pacific Transfer and Warehouse, Makena Holdings LLC, automobile dealership owner and state housing agency board member Charles G. King, and Haseko Construction Inc. executive vice president Kenneth H. Choate.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 525-8070.