Attack Ads Push Campaign Cash Into Spotlight In Honolulu Mayor's Race

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

The first glimpse in more than a decade into former Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano’s financial backers shows he can still count on some old friends for support.

From Jan. 1 through June 30, Cayetano raised more money — $900,000 — than the other two candidates running for mayor combined.

Same goes for Cayetano’s remaining campaign bank account. At $614,000, it was more than Mayor Peter Carlisle's and Kirk Caldwell’s stockpiles put together with six weeks left to go until the Aug. 11 election.

But the campaign spending data also shows Caldwell, not Cayetano, had the greater success with a small group of donors whose support for the governor was so fervent in the 1990s that they violated campaign finance law.

And while Cayetano still bristles at his name being linked to those past indiscretions — he was never found to have violated any laws — the allegations surrounding those decade-old donations have resurfaced in the current mayoral race.

Much of the noise has come from political attack ads paid for by the pro-rail, union group, Pacific Resource Partnership. Radio and TV spots insinuating wrongdoing by Cayetano are playing frequently on Honolulu stations. PRP has spent more than $500,000 on pro-rail and negative campaign ads against Cayetano, who has said he will stop the rail project if he's elected mayor.

Now both Carlisle and Caldwell are picking up PRP's line of attack.

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