Obama dominates local race for money
Hawaii's own Barack Obama tops candidates in Hawaii donations
Hawaii-born Sen. Barack Obama has collected more money from Hawaii donors than any other presidential candidate, according to files released Sunday night by the Federal Elections Commission.
Donors in Hawaii have given more than $80,000 to presidential candidates so far this year.
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is proving that he is Hawaii's favorite political son as he has attracted more than one-third of all the independent political contributions made in this presidential election cycle.
Reports filed by candidates for president with the Federal Election Commission show that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has raised the most, $26.1 million across the nation.
Democrat Obama is second with $25.7 million, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, is third with $21 million.
Hawaii likes its Democrats, with Obama raising $28,000, John Edwards, former senator and vice presidential candidate, second with $16,650 and Clinton third with $10,500.
The leading Republican among Hawaii political donors is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who gathered $6,501.
No candidate for president has held a fundraiser in Hawaii.
Brian Schatz, Hawaii coordinator for the Obama campaign, said the Hawaii-born Illinois Democrat has benefited from solicitations on the Internet.
"We have been highly decentralized. So far it has been house parties. We set up a laptop computer and just ask people to contribute," Schatz, a former state representative, said.
These first-quarter federal fundraising reports show that in Hawaii, Democrats are strong.
Edwards has no local campaign organization here, but has been pulling in money.
One contributor, David Pellegrin, said he has liked the former North Carolina senator's approach to issues such as health care.
"I think he is leading the way. He is the most substantive, and I think he has a way of projecting hope," Pellegrin, a businessman and publisher, said.
Edwards, a former trial attorney, also drew support from local members of the bar, as local attorneys Mark Davis, Gary Galiher and Jeffrey Ono also contributed to Edwards.
On the GOP side, real estate developer Everett Dowling contributed the maximum, $2,300, to Giuliani's campaign.
National political observers have said the early millions raised already show that the presidential campaigns are changing.
Schatz agreed, saying the use of fundraising through the Internet will change politics for the better.
"This fundraising is changing the rules. It is a decentralizing of political power," Schatz said.
A popular politician who can gather attention can raise money across the country by setting up an Internet site, he said.
"It is no longer sufficient to secure the support of five or 10 Washington lobbyists. Now someone who captures the imagination of a nation can become a leader, and that's the ultimate in finance reform," Schatz said.