Campaign ads take break
Candidates vying for federal races pause to assess strategies, but spots will run soon
While federal candidates in other states are well into their campaign ad seasons, Hawaii candidates are still recovering from last Saturday's primary election.
In other words, don't expect to see any ads -- positive or negative -- in the next few days.
Last week, Republicans and Democrats began showing at least 30 new campaign advertisements in contested House and Senate districts across the country, according to the New York Times. Of those, three were positive.
Most Hawaii candidates in federal races have not yet taken to the television or radio air waves touting their respective bids for the U.S. House and Senate.
"We're completely dark right now," said Elisa Yadao, a spokeswoman for Sen. Daniel Akaka's campaign. "Our Web site is still up and we're still working our e-mail campaign, but beyond that, I think it's safe to say we're in a period of assessing and evaluating."
If anything, candidates are taking out ads thanking their supporters.
Most of the candidates and their campaign officials say the proximity of Hawaii's primary to the general election -- just 45 days -- limits the amount of campaigning that can be done for a statewide race.
But rest assured, the ads are coming.
"The senator intends to run the same kind of campaign in the general, which is to talk about his position on the issues, the importance of his seniority and how that translates into benefits for Hawaii, and the difference between him and his opponent," Yadao said.
Akaka's opponent is state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, who faces perhaps the biggest challenge in mounting a statewide campaign, after only launching her bid for the Senate last week. Thielen on Monday was named by the state Republican Party to replace Jerry Coffee, who won the GOP nomination despite pulling out of the primary race because of illness.
"We are raising money. It's coming in via the Internet as well as locally," Thielen said. "We believe we will be able to be on the air with full television ads, radio spots and have a presence on each island."
The more competitive race in the U.S. House features former Democratic Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono against GOP state Sen. Bob Hogue to represent rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.
Hogue won the primary despite being outspent almost 8 to 1. He also has pledged to run the same type of campaign in the general as he did in the primary.
"I have run a very positive campaign," Hogue said after the primary. "I believe in being positive and I know that the voters have responded to the good will that we've built up."
Hogue said his campaign also has been in contact with some national Republican political committees, who say they believe the seat could be taken by the GOP.
Julie Stauch, Hirono's campaign manager, said she also has been in touch with the Democratic National Committee. Whether it will have the resources to contribute in Hawaii remains to be seen, Stauch said, noting that because Hawaii's primary came so late, much of the committee's resources already have been earmarked for other races.
However, as of the last federal reporting period, Hirono still had $150,000 in cash on hand, compared to Hogue's roughly $20,000.
"At this point, it's very clear that a contrast between the two candidates exists," Stauch said. "It's the job of each of the campaigns to articulate the difference between the two candidates. ...
"It's great that they're both nice people, but that's not enough. That doesn't help anyone reach a decision."