Kobayashi launches ad campaign
She is giving a voice back to the people, the mayoral hopeful says
City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi launched her first television and newspaper advertisements last week - the first of her mayoral campaign that has been mostly quiet with less than a month before the primary election.
In her commercial that is running during prime time, Kobayashi paints herself as the candidate that is giving a voice back to the people. "These are challenging times for many and it's getting harder to make ends meet," she says in the commercial. "So many have told me you feel the city is going down the wrong path, and I agree."
For the most part, since her last-minute announcement to run for mayor about a month ago, Kobayashi's campaign has had little visibility compared to Mayor Mufi Hannemann's.
Hannemann has had weekly sign-waving and several radio and television commercials running, with the most recent featuring former Iolani basketball player Derrick Low. Panos Prevedouros, another mayoral candidate, has also maintained a low profile compared to Hannemann, who has by far the biggest advantage with more than $2 million in campaign funds.
"We're doing everything we can," Kobayashi said. "We're really getting a lot of grass-roots support. Money power is great, but people power is greater."
The primary election is Sept. 20, giving the candidates about three weeks to campaign. For a candidate to win outright, that person needs to capture at least 50 percent of the vote plus one vote.
Neal Milner, a political scientist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said it would be a "formidable" challenge for Prevedouros and Kobayashi to prevent Hannemann from being declared the outright winner.
"Kobayashi is really well known, but if you're trying to run against an incumbent, you need to get an early start," Milner said.
Hannemann said he believes he has a good opportunity of winning the primary outright. "We are so focused on running our campaign," Hannemann said. "I'm not going to worry about what the opposition is doing and not doing. ... We're not going to take (the primary) for granted or think that it's a guaranteed slam dunk. I've never treated any of my campaigns that way."
Kobayashi will be holding a fundraiser tomorrow, the night presumptive presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama is expected to give a highly anticipated speech at the Democratic National Convention. Kobayashi's fundraiser, to be held at McKinley High School from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will be different from typical political fundraisers with a slogan of "Give What You Can."
"This is the wrong time to be asking people for money," Kobayashi said. "I just hate to squeeze businesses and our taxpayers for money at this time."
Milner said a "give what you can" fundraiser for Kobayashi falls in line with her campaign message, in addition to her options running out at this late point in the campaign.
"There's not much time," Milner said. "There isn't many other ways to get big money. It's also about fitting in with the image she created for herself, that this is about people power as opposed to a well-oiled political machine. She's definitely an underdog. You've got to take advantage of running as the underdog."