Hannemann leads field with $2.3M to fund run
Mayor Mufi Hannemann heads into the election season with more than $2.3 million in campaign funds on hand -- far ahead of his closest challenger, City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.
Kobayashi, who entered the race last week, has $146,000 available from previous city campaigns that can be used for her mayoral run, according to reports filed with the Campaign Spending Commission.
Yesterday marked the deadline for reports to be filed from the first six months of 2008.
Panos Prevedouros, a University of Hawaii civil engineering professor and outspoken critic of Hannemann's rail transit plan for Oahu, also is running for mayor. He did not announce his candidacy until after the June 30 reporting cutoff, and has no spending reports available.
Prevedouros said he hopes to raise at least $100,000, adding that his campaign collected between $8,000 and $10,000 after he announced his campaign plans.
Hannemann's spending report does not include a $20-a-person birthday fundraiser last week that was attended by more than 4,000 people, said campaign spokesman A.J. Halagao.
Rail opponents have criticized the mayor's use of campaign funds for an ad campaign supporting the steel-wheel-on-steel-rail transit proposal. The use of campaign funds for the ads was deemed legal by the Campaign Spending Commission.
Kobayashi said her mayoral campaign has just gotten started and that she hopes to raise at least $1 million to take on Hannemann.
"We have people power and we've been working a grass-roots campaign," Kobayashi said yesterday. "We haven't really started campaigning or fundraising, but we will."
Prevedouros said his campaign will use new media -- such as the Internet and e-mail -- to help get his message out. He says the campaign is not about money.
"He will try some blitzkrieg about his rail and everything and he'll try to win the hearts of the people," Prevedouros said. "That's a possibility. However, people have strong feelings about his administration and his proposals and the way that he has managed the city.
"I believe a lot of people want change."
On Kauai, the death of Mayor Bryan Baptiste and the resulting election of a new mayor this fall has led to a scramble to raise money on the Garden Isle.
Among the four candidates for mayor, Council members Mel Rapozo and JoAnn Yukimura have the added advantage of being able to use their funds for Council races to run for mayor.
As of June 30, which was before anyone had been able to run for mayor, Yukimura had assembled $11,678.49 for her Council run, according to campaign spending figures. Rapozo had $6,938.96, according to his filings.
County Parks Director Bernard Carvalho and public school employee Rolf Beiber were not required to file reports because they were not candidates at the time of the June 30 reporting cutoff.
Star-Bulletin reporter Tom Finnegan contributed to this report.