Political Radar

Super III

October 31st, 2014

Here is a taste of fundraising and spending by the top super PACs in Hawaii based on the latest campaign-finance reports.

American Comeback Committee Hawaii PAC, a political action committee for the Republican Governors Association
Raised: $1.8 million
Spent: $1.7 million
Major donors: Republican Governors Association
Targets: The group is sponsoring advertising critical of state Sen. David Ige, the Democratic candidate for governor, on issues such as taxes and the state's struggling health insurance exchange.

Hawaii Forward, a political action committee of the Democratic Governors Association
Raised: $1.5 million
Spent: $1.4 million
Major donors: Democratic Governors Association; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Targets: The group is sponsoring advertising critical of former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican candidate for governor, on issues such as teacher furloughs and his opposition to abortion rights.

Forward Progress, a new political action committee led by John White, the executive director of Pacific Resource Partnership
Raised: $688,349
Spent: $1 million
Major donors: Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program
Targets: The carpenters and contractors group has backed Kaala Buenconsejo, a marketing director running for Maui County Council; Brandon Elefante, a council aide who ran for Honolulu City Council; Ron Gonzales, a restaurant manager running for Hawaii County Council; Tiffany Edwards Hunt, a journalist running for Hawaii County Council; and Maile David, a deputy county clerk who ran for Hawaii County Council. Elefante and David won outright in the primary. Buenconsejo, Gonzales and Hunt are in November runoffs. The group is also supporting Joe Pontanilla, a former county councilman, and Mike White, an existing county councilman, for the Maui County Council. The group is opposing Elle Cochran, a county councilwoman being challenged by Buenconsejo.

Maui Timeshare Ohana Political Action Committee
Raised: $540,050
Spent: $443,812
Major donors: The vacation owners associations of Ocean Resort Villas, part of The Westin hotel chain; American Resort Developers Association
Targets: The newly created group has backed Kaala Buenconsejo, a marketing director running for Maui County Council. The group's chairman is listed as Grant David Gillham, a political consultant in Washington, D.C., and Reno, Nev. The group is using Tulchin Research, the California-based polling firm, and the Hamburger Company, the Washington, D.C.-based media consulting firm, that worked with PRP during the Honolulu mayor's race in 2012. Buenconsejo is in a runoff against county councilwoman Elle Cochran. The group, like Forward Progress, is also supporting Joe Pontanilla, a former county councilman, and Mike White, an existing county councilman, for the Maui County Council.

Aikea, the political action committee for Unite Here! Local 5, the hotel workers union
Raised: $397,879
Spent: $318,579
Major donors: Unite Here!
Targets: The labor group helped Joli Tokusato, a hotel lifeguard active with the union, against Honolulu City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga. Tokusato failed to make the runoff.

NEA Advocacy Fund, a political action committee of the National Education Association
Raised: $299,233
Spent: $299,233
Major donors: National Education Association
Targets: The group is behind advertising critical of former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican candidate for governor, on teacher furloughs.

National Association of Realtors Fund, a Chicago-based political action committee for Realtors
Raised: $2 million
Spent: $122,688
Major donors: National Association of Realtors
Targets: The group did outreach on behalf of state Sen. Malama Solomon; state Sen. Rosalyn Baker; state Rep. James Tokioka; and state Rep. Henry Aquino. Solomon lost to former state Sen. Lorraine Inouye in the Democratic primary. Baker, Tokioka and Aquino won their Democratic primaries. The group is supporting Baker, state Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, state Sen. Jill Tokuda, state House Speaker Joseph Souki, state House Majority Leader Scott Saiki, and state Rep. Sylvia Luke in the general election.

Workers for a Better Hawaii, the political action committee of the Hawaii Government Employees Association
Raised: $134,213
Spent: $102,532
Major donors: Hawaii Government Employees Association; Hawaii Committee on Political Education
Targets: The public-sector union helped Honolulu City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga; Aaron Chung, an attorney and former county councilman, who ran for Hawaii County Council; state Rep. Richard Creagan; state Rep. Nicole Lowen; and state Rep. Dee Morikawa. Fukunaga is in a runoff. Chung won outright in the primary. Creagan, Lowen and Morikawa won Democratic primaries. The group is sponsoring a television advertisement for state Sen. David Ige, the Democratic candidate for governor.

Jobs and Opportunity for Hawaii, a political action committee of the Democratic Governors Association
Raised: $100,000
Spent: $99,792
Major donors: Democratic Governors Association
Targets: Most of the spending was for polling and research.

Hawaii Center for Food Safety Action Fund, an anti-GMO advocacy group
Raised: $42,841
Spent: $56,722
Major donors: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap; Lavinia Currier, a wealthy philanthropist active with environmental causes
Targets: Sponsored mailers for state House candidates Robert Harris, the former Sierra Club Hawaii director; Dylan Hooser, the son of Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser; and state Senate candidate Lorraine Inouye. Harris and Hooser lost Democratic primaries. Inouye defeated Solomon in the Democratic primary. The group is supporting the anti-GMO ballot initiative on Maui in the general election.

Hawaii Family Advocates, an advocacy group for religious conservatives
Raised: $54,568
Spent: $53,898
Major donors: Austin Imamura, a banker; Guo Z. Chen, self-employed
Targets: Sponsored mailers for state Rep. Sharon Har, a Democrat who opposed gay marriage; state House candidate Joan Hood, a religious conservative who opposed gay marriage; and against state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, who supported marriage equality. Har won the Democratic primary. Thielen defeated Hood in the Republican primary. For the general election, the group is sponsoring mailers in districts held by state Rep. Tom Bower, state Rep. Takashi Ohno and state Rep. Chris Lee, Oahu Democrats who are facing Republicans motivated to run by the special session on marriage equality. The group also is opposing state Rep. Nicole Lowen, a Democrat facing Kelly Valenzuela, a Republican who opposes marriage equality, on Hawaii Island.

Sierra Club Hawaii PAC, the political action committee for the environmental group
Raised: $39,320
Spent: $25,841
Major donors: Randy Ching, a conservationist; Jeffrey Bronfman, an ecologist
Targets: Sponsored mailers for state House candidate Matt LoPresti; state House candidate Robert Harris, the group's former director; and state Senate candidate Terez Amato. LoPresti defeated state Rep. Rida Cabanilla in the Democratic primary. Harris and Amato lost Democratic primaries. The group is helping state Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat, and former state Rep. Gil Riviere, a Democrat who is running for state Senate against state Rep. Richard Fale, a Republican, in the general election.

Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council, an advocacy group for trade unions
Raised: $20,660
Spent: $20,660
Major donors: Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council
Targets: The trade group helped Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who lost to state Sen. David Ige in the Democratic primary.

HIRA Action, the political action committee for the conservative Hawaii Republican Assembly
Raised: $27,433
Spent: $17,678
Major donors: Mary Smart, a Realtor; Alexander Gaston, an investor
Targets: Most of the spending was for radio ads and events.

Hawaii Solutions, a political action committee with ties to former state Republican leaders
Raised: $26,281
Spent: $15,575
Major donors: Heidi Wong, homemaker
Targets: The group is sponsoring mailers opposing former state Rep. Gil Riviere, a Democrat facing state Rep. Richard Fale, a Republican, for state Senate; Kent Fonoimoana, a Democrat running against Feki Pouha, a Republican, for Fale's House seat; and former state Rep. Tommy Waters, who is campaigning for Honolulu City Council.

Hawaii Voter Information Project, a political action committee led by Andrew Walden, a Republican activist behind the conservative Hawaii Free Press website
Raised: $14,516
Spent: $14,416
Major donors: Andrew Walden, activist and website editor
Targets: The group is sponsoring mailers opposing Democratic state Rep. Karen Awana, state Rep. Tom Brower, state Rep. Richard Creagan, former state Rep. Michael Magaoay and state Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.

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