costs two nearly
$7 million so far
Ben Cayetano and Linda LingleBy Rod Ohira
have less than $1 million left in
their campaign chests
Compared with the nearly $7 million they've spent so far in the governor's race, the $856,451 in the campaign accounts of Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle appears to be small change.
According to campaign spending reports filed yesterday, Cayetano's campaign had spent all but $556,076 of the $4.6 million raised for his re-election as of last Monday.
Challenger Lingle reported total contributions of $3.1 million with a cash balance of $290,375 heading into the final two weeks before the Nov. 3 general election.
Money is a powerful tool, but former Hawaii legislator and veteran political strategist Nadao Yoshinaga says last-minute spending in the governor's race won't sway many voters.
"I don't think money is going to make a difference at this stage," said Yoshinaga, a lifelong Democrat and strategist for the gubernatorial campaigns of John Burns and John Waihee.
"I believe (the primary election) Sept. 19 showed that people want change. The Republican strategy pointed to the bad economy, blamed the Democrats for it and said, 'Give us a chance.'
"I told some Democratic leaders then, 'You better get a plan; otherwise, the momentum is going to continue.' So far, I haven't seen any plan except bad-mouthing."
Ann Kobayashi, co-chairwoman of Cayetano's campaign, believes a mailing blitz planned for the last week will make a difference.
"We're planning to do a friend-to-friend mailing, and that's a huge expense because there'll be thousands of them," Kobayashi said. "But we feel we need to get the word out about his accomplishments."
Lingle's campaign leaders were unavailable for comment last night.
Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, meanwhile, reported $130,259 cash on hand from the $818,178 contributed to her re-election campaign. Republican Stan Koki has raised $352,941 and had $31,547 left to spend.
Republican Joe Pickard, who is running against Democrat Robert Nakata for the District 23 (Kaneohe, Kahuku, Heeia) Senate seat, ran a well-financed campaign two years ago as a nonpartisan in an unsuccessful City Council bid.
Pickard says he raised $175,000 in 1996. This year, his contributions total $11,089 as compared with $58,394 for Nakata.
"The difference is, people are afraid to contribute to a Republican candidate because of retaliation," Pickard said. "That's the reality.
"When you have money, 70 percent of it goes to advertising. When people see a full-page ad in the newspaper or get a nice three- or four-page mailer, they believe you are a credible candidate.
"This time, all I'm doing is mailers and it's expensive. We've paid $2,500 just for postage."