Gubernatorial fundraising in full swing


POSTED: Saturday, June 27, 2009

This weekend starts the 2010 race for governor in earnest as the three major candidates rev up their fundraising operations.

First out is Republican Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona who is feted at a $500-per ticket reception tonight held by Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, at Trader Vic's in Palo Alto, Calif.

Aiona has already held two other California fundraisers, both charging $1,000-per ticket. Last night he was the guest of Scott Baugh, the Orange County GOP chairman. Thursday evening Aiona was raising money in Los Angles at the Regency club, hosted by Ed Hogan, of Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays.

“;We are making tremendous progress in this early stage of the campaign,”; Aiona said in a statement from his campaign. “;The Hawaii governor's race is one of the top races in the country and the success of our fundraising is a reflection of this.”;

Aiona, who declared for governor two years ago, has had 28 fundraisers. Although new campaign collection figures won't be available until the end of July, Aiona already reports raising $1.5 million for the campaign and spending $885,000.

Tonight, Bert T. Kobayashi Jr. is hosting a $1,000-per ticket reception for Mayor Mufi Hannemann, a Democrat. Kobayashi is a senior partner with the law firm of Kobayashi, Sugita and Goda.

Hannemann has not formally declared for governor, but said he was interested in exploring the option and formed a committee to test the viability of a statewide campaign for governor.

Finally, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, also a Democrat, is formally kicking off his campaign Monday night with a “;Birthday Bash”; at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Abercrombie will be celebrating his 71st birthday (which was yesterday) with 1,100 supporters, paying $200 per ticket.

Laurie Au, Abercrombie's campaign spokeswoman, said the fundraiser will feature an appearance by actress Kelly Hu. Abercrombie is expected to use the occasion to lay out his campaign plans during a speech, Au said.

On Tuesday, Abercrombie flies to Kauai for a smaller fundraising event. That will bring Abercrombie's total number of governor's race fundraisers to eight, including a May 14 $1,000-per ticket event at the National Democratic Party headquarters in Washington, D.C.