State backs native son
Sen. Barack Obama dwarfs all others in Hawaii donations
STORY SUMMARY »
Hawaii residents donated almost seven times more money to Sen. Barack Obama than his Democratic opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton.
The Federal Election Commission released yesterday the amount of contributions Hawaii residents made to presidential candidates in 2007.
The figures show Obama's campaign raised $411,253 through Dec. 31. That is 73 percent of all Democratic presidential candidate donations made in Hawaii.
On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas drew the most contributions with $84,185.
FULL STORY »
Hometown favorite son Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has brought in $411,253 from Hawaii residents, more than all other presidential candidates combined, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Total donations from Hawaii residents to presidential candidates through Dec. 31:
Totals reflect some candidates who are not shown.
Source: Federal Elections Commission
But local campaign leaders say it is Obama's message, not his Hawaii roots, that is attracting donors.
"It's his message and his leadership," said Brian Schatz, local Obama campaign spokesman. "I think it'd be true if he were born in Idaho or North Dakota."
Schatz said the Obama campaign has an active, organized fundraising effort in Hawaii.
"I think we've exceeded most expectations, but the main focus now is the primary on the 19th," he said.
Nationally, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reported the highest donations with $115.6 million as of Dec. 31, with $59,625 of that coming from Hawaii. Obama was second with $102.2 million.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney raised $88.5 million, while Arizona Sen. John McCain gathered $41.1 million. Texas Rep. Ron Paul reported $28.1 million, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who brought in $9 million.
State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, spokeswoman for the local Clinton campaign, said she was not surprised by the amount of donations Obama's campaign has racked up here.
"They have done a full-on fundraising campaign," she said. "We're not overtly raising money here in Hawaii."
Hanabusa, who donated $250 to Clinton's campaign, said the local campaign wanted to keep all the money in Hawaii and did not solicit donations.
"Whatever you see there is just people sending in their checks on their own," she said.
On the Republican side, Paul led in local donations with $84,185.
He was followed by Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The campaign donation report came out midway through the non-binding Hawaii Republican caucuses, which end Tuesday. However, Hawaii's Republican delegates will not be selected until the state convention in May.
Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Willes Lee said the Ron Paul campaign has been "very effective" in Hawaii.
"Overall it's very satisfying for a local state party chair to see the excitement caused by the national elections," he said. "I'm impressed, especially with the nature of the economy here in Hawaii, that there are as many contributions across the board to all the candidates."
Dan Douglass, coordinator for the Paul campaign in Hawaii, said he expected high local donations for Paul.
He said he started supporting Paul after seeing him in a debate last year.
"Especially in Hawaii, we have such a heavy tax burden that people really hunger for economic freedom," he said.
Paul, a long-shot candidate, has not yet won a state primary and remains far behind McCain.
"I think they've been very instrumental through use of the Internet in raising money. I would commend the Paul campaign for doing that," said state Rep. Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Hawaii Kai), co-chairman of the local McCain campaign.