Akaka winning fundraising race
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer
By Derrick DePledge
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka brought in more campaign money than U.S. Rep. Ed Case over the past two months and has more cash available for advertising during the critical days before the Sept. 23 Democratic primary for Senate.
Akaka rais-ed more than $353,250 during the past two months and has about $364,600 in cash, according to the senator's campaign. Case raised more than $215,350 during the same time and has more than $237,850 in cash available. The last full campaign spending reports before the primary were due with the Federal Election Commission yesterday, and both campaigns provided summaries to the news media.
Overall, Akaka has raised more than $2.1 million for his re-election — a record for the senator — while Case has collected about $608,800.
Along with his own campaign fundraising, Akaka has also benefited from money spent in the Islands by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and labor unions. Case has been at a fundraising disadvantage throughout the campaign, but he received some important independent financial help in August from the National Association of Realtors.
The Realtors' national political action committee spent more than $600,000 on television and direct-mail advertising for Case, who has raised slightly more than that for his campaign.
Andy Winer, Akaka's campaign manager, said the campaign will likely air ads over the next several days that contrast the candidates on issues such as Iraq, President Bush's tax cuts and the USA Patriot Act.
"What we intend to be doing is to make sure the voters have a clear idea of the differences between Senator Akaka and Representative Case," he said.
Case, who, with his wife, Audrey, took advantage of the first day of early voting at Honolulu Hale yesterday morning, said he would be reminding voters of his themes of change and leadership transition.
The congressman said he thought Akaka would have raised more money in the past few months and again predicted the race would be close.
"I think there are a lot of voters that are going to make up their minds in the voting booth," Case said. "And I think there are a lot of voters that may be saying one thing and doing another thing. I think it's a highly fluid race and I think we're about dead even in terms of the people that are actually going to vote in the Democratic primary.
"I think it's going to be close right to the end."
Some within the Akaka camp have criticized the Realtors' ads as tone-deaf because one of the pieces describes Case as Hawaiian. Winer also believes that a federal small-business health-care bill mentioned in the ads would not apply in Hawai'i because of the state's unique Prepaid Health Care Act.
Case, who had no role in the content or the amount of the ads, said he supports the broader goal of giving Realtors and others the ability to pool together to help pay for health insurance.
Tracy Stice, a Realtor in Makawao and the chairman of the Realtors' PAC in Hawai'i, said the group endorsed Case because it believes he has a better track record on issues important to the industry. He also said the Realtors nationally felt it was a race that was winnable and that they could gain an ally in the Senate.
"This is just about 'put your money where your mouth is' — in this case where somebody supported you 100 percent across the board and the other candidate basically hasn't," Stice said.
Both candidates continued to tap individual and PAC donors over the past few months. About a third of Akaka's contributions came from PACs and two-thirds came from individual donors, according to the campaigns, while only a tiny amount — about $4,000 — of Case's contributions came from PACs and the rest came from individual donors.
In the days leading up to the primary, the candidates are required to report any large contributions they receive within 48 hours.
For example, last Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye gave Akaka's campaign $4,200, and his political action committee, DANPAC, donated $5,000. Inouye's political action committee had given $15,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in March to go along with the $300,000 the senator had contributed of his own campaign money to the group in the hopes that it would help Akaka in Hawai'i.
Reach Derrick DePledge at firstname.lastname@example.org.