Ongoing Series { Who's Buying Political Ads in Hawaii

Campaign Ads Now Hitting Hawaii Airwaves

You know political season in Hawaii has really begun when candidates start spending money buying television airtime.

Bob Marx, a Democrat running for the 2nd Congressional District, began airing TV spots in December — the first 2012 candidate to do so.

He has already spent nearly $25,000 in television advertising to get his name out there. That's three times the amount spent by one of his four primary opponents, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. (Although Mufi has his own radio show every Saturday.)

Hannemann is the heavyweight in the CD2 race, but the primary contest for the U.S. Senate between Democrats Ed Case and Mazie Hirono is a tossup. The bigger race has attracted bigger bucks, with the former congressman having already spent $81,500 — more than twice as much as his rival, the sitting congresswoman.

The ad buys represent only the very beginning of the 2012 election — through Feb. 5, actually. But, it's clear that contenders in hot races are already jockeying to persuade voters by reaching them in their living rooms.

The ads live on via YouTube where they have the potential to reach the greatest number of viewers, a deeper penetration than comes from print and radio advertising.

Add to that the expected influx of unbridled spending by mainland super PACS seeking to sway Hawaii's federal election — thanks to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission — and local voters this season may witness a media blitz unlike any that has come before.

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