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Government & Politics

Super PAC Spending Revealed

Wayne Yoshioka

More than 8.5 million dollars has been spent so far in primary election races for the top two state executive offices.






According to the state campaign spending Commission, Super PAC, Be Change Now has spent $665-thousand since the beginning of the year for campaign ads opposing incumbent Governor David Ige and promoting challenger Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.  Governor Ige responded to that issue at a sign waving and get out the vote rally.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Governor David Ige (center with lei) sign waves with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (left) and former Governor John Waihee (right)

“You know, these super PACs, they’re not responsible to anybody.  Nobody takes responsibility for the content of the ads.  They’re gonna spend a lot of money; the voters of Hawai’i will receive all kinds of attack ads of every way, shape and form.  (reporter:  ‘So how does a candidate like you, on the receiving end, counter this?’)  I put my faith and trust in the voters Hawai’i.  I think they can see through that.  They’ll recognize that these super PACs are attempting to buy the elections and wil be able to determine advertising that talks about issues from the real attack ads.”


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa questions the governor's actions during the January 13th False Missile Alert.

Super PAC, Be Change Now, is funded by the Hawai’i Council of Carpenters.  Congresswoman Hanabusa, meanwhile, maintains the Governor has not been forthright about his actions during the January 13th False Missile Alert.


“When you ask a fundamental…for 38 minutes.”


In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Be Change Now, expended $471-thousand to promote State Senator Josh Green.   At a Hawai’i Kai Neighborhood Board candidate forum, the previously accessible Green, refused HPR’s request to address the Super PAC issue.  State Senator Jill Tokuda, who is also running for lieutenant governor, said she is campaigning hard and being positive.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
State Senator Jill Tokuda, running for Lieutenant Governor, remains positive and hopeful despite Super PAC money flowing in to help her opponent

“It is difficult to go up against hundreds of thousands of dollars.  But, for me, I think the voters will make their decision based upon our record – you know – what we’ve stood for and the kinds of tough decisions we’ve had to make.  That is really my hope.  That is the message I’m putting out there.  But at the end of the day it really is about the records of service that we have made on behalf of people.”


With a little more than a week left before Primary Election Day, August 11th. voters like Alan Lee say the negative Super PAC ads only influence voters who are uncertain.   


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Voter, Alan Lee, of Kaneohe, says Super PAC attack ads don't influence voters who know the issues

“I have my own opinion on the issues and I don’t like when someone takes an issue and tries to skew it or taint it or make it inaccurate and then influence people that way.  I think it’s unfair.  I think it doesn’t belong in Hawaii.


Based on the previous two primary election voter turnout rates, there are between 75-thousand and 100-thousand likely Democratic Party Votes that will be cast August 11th.   Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.

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