Saturday, August 4, 2001

Abercrombie and
Mink sitting pretty

The 2 incumbents are doing
well in the race to raise money
for next year's elections

By Pat Omandam

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who represents urban Honolulu, appears well positioned for another re-election bid next year with $313,473 already in his campaign war chest.

His counterpart, Rep. Patsy T. Mink, is also gearing up for challengers for the suburban Oahu and neighbor islands seat, having $112,668 on hand as of June 30, according to the midyear congressional committee reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The reports, which are available online and cover the period from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2001, show Democrat Abercrombie raised $330,132 during the period, with $179,375, or about 54 percent, coming from political action committees.

PACs are set up by businesses, labor unions and other special-interest groups to channel financial contributions into political campaigns.

Many of the PAC contributions to Abercrombie are from the construction industry, reflecting his position as a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, where he is ranking Democrat on the Military Installations and Facilities Subcommittee. He is also on the Committee on Resources.

Donations included $5,000 from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners legislative improvement committee, and two payments of $5,000 on May 2 from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

Mink raised $31,659 during the period, with $22,500 from PACs and the rest from individuals. Among those individual contributions were four $1,000 donations, on May 7, 2001, from attorneys Ian and Judith Mattoch of Kailua.

The FEC's Web site shows four other people had campaign committee reports for the 2nd House District. Two of them, Republicans Bob McDermott and Eugene F. Douglass, are expected challengers to Mink in the 2002 elections.

McDermott, a state representative who will make his first bid for Congress next year, listed a cash balance of $1,083. Douglass, who has run for office before, had a balance of $19 but listed $10,761 in debts. Also listed was Republican Carol Jean Douglass's campaign committee with a $24 balance and $6,498 in debts.

The largest campaign debt listed was by Democratic state Senate President Robert Bunda, who failed in his 1996 congressional bid. He listed $72,780 in debts from his 1996 campaign and a balance of just $1,677.

Hawaii's two Democratic U.S. senators will not have to run next year, but both still raised money this spring. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye raised $102,000, while Sen. Daniel K. Akaka raised $289,635.

Akaka, who won re-election last year, had a balance of zero because FEC rules require elected Congress members to close their campaign accounts after each election and start from zero.

Inouye, who was re-elected in 1998, had a $127,838 balance. He is not up for re-election until 2004, so he is focusing on helping other Hawaii Democrats get elected, said Jennifer Goto-Sabas, his chief of staff.

"We won't actively start fund raising until after 2002," she said.

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