Pro-Rail Money Follows Caldwell, Carlisle Lags


Honolulu’s pro-rail business community is backing Kirk Caldwell over incumbent Peter Carlisle in the race for mayor, throwing more money toward his campaign than to either of the other candidates.

In fact, even anti-rail candidate Ben Cayetano received more financial support from this constituency than Carlisle, giving credence to the former governor’s claim that some influential community leaders are going along with rail publicly but secretly want him to be the city’s next mayor.

A review of campaign finance reports shows Caldwell collected at least $80,000 from company execs who openly support rail, their employees, families, affiliated companies and political action committees. That compares to about $14,000 for Cayetano and $8,000 for Carlisle from the same types of donors.

This cash flow to Caldwell is noteworthy considering Carlisle is arguably the staunchest rail supporter in the race. He's said he'll "plow forward" despite hurdles, while at the same time criticizing Caldwell’s attempt to find a middle ground in the campaign to "build rail better."

"He says that he's in the middle," Carlisle said of Caldwell in a recent interview with Civil Beat. "So what he actually plans to do is a mystery."

Carlisle has also struggled in general to raise money for his campaign, which is unusual for an incumbent. Over the past six months, he pulled in $198,000 in campaign contributions, less than both of his competitors.

Have feedback? Suggestions?