Schatz to return state race war chest
State Rep. Brian Schatz is starting his campaign for Congress by giving back $115,000 collected for a state race for re-election.
Schatz (D, Makiki) is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ed Case, who is running for the U.S. Senate. Schatz will not be able to spend any of the collected money on his federal race.
"I felt compelled to return these campaign contributions because they were given to me under an entirely different set of circumstances," Schatz said.
Barbara Wong, Campaign Spending Commission executive director, said Schatz could terminate his state campaign account because he will not have an active state campaign this year.
Schatz said he estimates that he will need about $850,000 for his congressional campaign, and has three fundraisers planned.
In comparison, a fellow Democrat, state Sen. Gary Hooser of Kauai, who is also running for the congressional seat representing rural Oahu and the neighbor islands, plans on a $350,000 campaign before the September primary election.
Hooser said in a news release yesterday that he will hold a $25-a-head fundraiser March 19 at the Kauai Veterans Center.
But Hooser put in a plea asking for larger donations, explaining that he plans television, radio and print advertising along with "slogging it out on the ground in door-to-door, person-to-person campaigning."
Hooser said he had not planned to return any of his campaign money collected for his Senate seat. State campaign spending figures show that Hooser had less than $2,000 in his state campaign coffers at the beginning of the year.
"My state fund is minimal and I will leave it dormant," Hooser said. Because he is running for Congress in the middle of his state term, Hooser does not have to close his account, and if he does not win the congressional race, he will still have two years left on his Senate seat.