Hawaii Senate Contenders Differ On Super PACs

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In January, in an unusual move, opponents in one of the hotest U.S. Senate races in the nation signed an agreement to curb outside campaign spending in their contest.

The pledge by Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren is intended to halt the flow of millions of dollars in advertising by super PACs and other independent groups into the Massachusetts election.

Super PACs have flourished following the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commmission decision that allowed for corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns.

"The campaigns are seeking to dissuade outside groups from pumping money into the state by forcing a financial penalty on the candidate who benefits," wrote Politico about the Brown-Warren pact. "Under their deal, the campaign benefiting from an outside ad must make a charitable contribution worth half of the ad’s costs within three days."

Would Mazie Hirono, Ed Case and Linda Lingle be willing to sign a similar pledge in the Hawaii race for the U.S. Senate?

"Yes," say they two Democrats competing in the primary.

"No," says the Republican who will face one of the Democrats in the general.

That's just one of the key differences that emerge in Civil Beat's candidate surveys of the Senate candidates. Eight of the 11 people running for the seat answered them, including the top three contenders.

The questions address a range of critical issues, such as how to fix the national debt and deficit spending, how to keep federal funding flowing into the state and whether the Senate should do away with arcane rules like the filibuster that limit debate and kill legislation.

Hawaii's next U.S. senator has a good chance of serving in Washington for at least a generation and to assume the mantle of senior senator.

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