Lingle's camp raises $5.8 million
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer
By Derrick DePledge
Gov. Linda Lingle slowed her fundraising over the past six months but has $3.3 million in cash available for her re-election campaign, while her two main Democratic rivals have struggled to raise enough money to be competitive.
The Republican governor raised $762,502 between January and June, according to her state campaign-finance report released yesterday, down from the $1.2 million she collected in the last half of 2005. She has $3.3 million in cash on hand and has raised a total of $5.8 million during the election cycle, approaching her goal of $6 million for the campaign.
Former Mililani state Sen. Randall Iwase reported raising $134,258 during the past six months and has $16,664 in cash available for his Democratic primary against Wai'anae harbormaster William Aila Jr., in September. Aila raised $17,126 and has $6,776 in cash for his campaign.
Lingle's campaign, which has been criticized for accepting money from wealthy Republicans on the Mainland, noted that more than 85 percent of contributors during the period were from Hawai'i. A new state law that went into effect in January limited Mainland contributions to 20 percent during each reporting period.
"This report indicates a tremendous outpouring of grassroots support," the governor said in a statement. "I am both humbled and encouraged by the cross-section of people statewide who support my initiatives and vision to lead Hawai'i forward for another four years."
Iwase and Aila have had to compete for money and name recognition at a time when prominent Democratic candidates are also asking for political support. The U.S. Senate primary between U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case and the U.S. House primary to replace Case in the 2nd Congressional District — which has several top Democrats — have taxed Democratic donors.
Iwase has done some radio and newspaper advertisements, and has aired his campaign video on public-access television, but does not expect to heavily advertise in the primary. He said the media could help reduce the influence of money on elections by lowering the costs of political advertising, which is typically among the biggest campaign expenses.
But he said he would try to use Lingle's fundraising against her with voters, claiming, as he did at the start of his campaign earlier this year, that it is "obscene" for the governor to raise $6 million.
"We're not going to let her buy this election," Iwase said.
Aila said he is hearing from voters frustrated by the amount of money in politics and searching for unconventional candidates. "They are praying for something different," he said.
Aila raised money in late July from a Wai'anae fishing tournament and chicken lunch sale and said he would be taking a grassroots approach to his campaign. "We went into this knowing that raising a lot of money wasn't realistic," he said. "The best advertising is word of mouth."
Mike McCartney, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawai'i, said the primary winner will benefit from party and union support and will have a credible campaign against Lingle in November. The party conceded last year, when it could not find a candidate and start fundraising early, that Lingle would have much more money.
"There's no question it's an uphill battle," McCartney said. "It's going to come down to how hard everyone works."
Reach Derrick DePledge at firstname.lastname@example.org.