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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

25% of council ballots in so far

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer


For a detailed look at the candidates’ campaign finance reports, go to www.hawaii.gov/campaign.

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Newcomer Nathaniel Kinney leads all candidates in the City Council 5th District special election in terms of how much he's raised and spent.

Not too far behind is former Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi. Third in receipts and disbursements is former state Sen. Matt Matsunaga.

Meanwhile, nearly 25 percent of eligible voters in the district have turned in their mail-in ballots even though people have until Aug. 7 to turn them in, city elections officer Glen Takahashi said yesterday.

The special election is to determine who will serve the remaining three-plus years of the term of Councilman Duke Bainum, who died unexpectedly on June 9. There are 14 candidates. A winner will be announced the evening of Aug. 7.

The district includes Manoa, Makiki, Ala Moana, McCully-Mo'ili'ili, Kapahulu, St. Louis Heights and Palolo.

Kinney, until recently a lawyer for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, reported receiving $109,910 through July 23, according to a report filed with the Campaign Spending Commission.

Yesterday was the deadline to file such reports.

Kinney also reported spending $99,969 and loans of $30,000.

Kobayashi, who held the 5th District seat from 2003 to last year, when she decided to forgo re-election to run for mayor, reported receiving $96,616 and spending $82,406.

Matsunaga, a former state senator, reported receiving $60,790 and spending $54,396. Matsunaga also reported loans of $38,400.

Kinney, Kobayashi and Matsunaga have been the only candidates so far who have run substantial advertising campaigns in print, radio and television.

The only other candidate to report a five-digit campaign war chest is former union official George Waialeale, who had not filed his report as of press time yesterday but said he had raised about $10,000 and spent about $8,200.

Horticulturalist Heidi Bornhorst reported receiving $3,505 and spending $2,589.

James Quimby, a case manager for a nonprofit, reported receiving $2,915 and spending $2,446.

Four of the 14 candidates — Gladys Hayes, Philmund Lee, Butch Sims and Earl Winfree — were not required to file campaign finance reports by yesterday's deadline because they agreed to spend less than $1,000 during the campaign.

Takahashi said that 12,600 ballots had been received at Honolulu Hale by 4 p.m. yesterday, out of 49,851 ballots mailed out July 17, for a return rate so far of 25.3 percent.

Takahashi said the returns mirror that of the recent 3rd District special election, which saw a turnout of about 45 percent.

A study by council staff showed that 50.6 percent of the total votes cast in that race were received by the city clerk's office during the first three days of voting.

So far, the 5th District ballot return rate appears to be mirroring that of the 3rd District race, where a large number of votes were received early, followed by a lull, and then a rush of ballots in the last few days.

"People tend to hold on to things until the end," Takahashi said.