Ongoing Series { Who's Buying Political Ads in Hawaii

The Public File: Lingle's Post-Primary Ads Stand Alone — For Now

Courtesy of Lingle2012

With the primary election wrapped up, candidates and super PACs have begun to gear up for the next chapter of campaigning. Hawaii's U.S. Senate candidates Linda Lingle and Mazie Hirono are already laying into each other in a feisty back-and-forth that began even before the primary.

But Lingle was the only candidate to buy time on local airwaves this past week, according to Civil Beat's most recent look at the public files.

The Republican spent more than $54,000 on at least 121 spots that are airing through the end of the week on KHON, KGMB and KHNL. That's on top of the roughly $13,000 she doled out for 18 spots that aired August 12, the day after the primary election.

She bought the Aug. 12 spots earlier this month, clearly anticipating her landside victory over John Carroll and the other Republican U.S. Senate candidates. Those ads aired during programming such as 60 Minutes and the PGA golf tournament. She also bought a few spots that aired during last Sunday's Olympics, including one during the closing ceremony that cost $3,600.

Lingle this week released a new ad titled "Mazie Hirono Does Not Add Up for Hawaii". The commercial criticizes Hirono's track record in Congress, arguing that none of the 49 bills the 2nd Congressional District representative has sponsored have become law. It then goes on to highlight Lingle's bipartisan accomplishments in stimulating job growth, supporting quality education and balancing Hawaii's budget.

Hirono's campaign immediately responded to the ad.

"Since being elected to Congress, Hirono has consistently worked with individuals, organizations, community leaders and elected officials in Hawaii to secure federal resources for local and state programs and projects," wrote Hirono's campaign manager Betsy Lin in a statement. "She has repeatedly ranked among the top members of Congress to advocate for federal funding in Washington, DC for Hawaii. ... Hopefully, Linda Lingle will try to run a serious campaign in the days and weeks to come that isn’t focused on distorted and dishonest character attacks."

The spots have aired primarily during news programming, including five during KHON's evening news that cost $1,500 each. Lingle also bought one spot scheduled to air Sunday during NFL pre-season football.

As of Wednesday, Lingle has spent a total of close to $650,000 on ad time this election season.

Civil Beat each week has been stopping by Hawaii's three broadcast stations to get copies of their political ad contracts. These documents reveal which political candidates and independent expenditure committees, or super PACs, have bought ad time and for how much.

Broadcast stations are required by law to make these files available to the public. Stations located in the top 50 markets now have to post those files on a Federal Communications Commission website.

But Hawaii's TV market ranks 71st, so local broadcasters won't have to post their contracts online until July 2014. For now, only political ad buys on Oceanic Time Warner cable stations are viewable online.

Operating Engineers

Three contracts for the Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 also showed up in this week's public files. The documents, however, date back to before the primary.

The union spent roughly $24,000 on 157 spots, most of which aired throughout July on KGMB and KHNL. The spots endorsed the rail project, according to documents available at the Hawaii News Now station.

Civil Beat has already reported that the group in June spent nearly $15,000 on 164 spots that aired in July and early August on a range of Oceanic Time Warner cable networks.

Operating Engineers has spent at least $39,000 total on ad time this election season.

Grand Totals

Total ad buys this week, including Lingle's Aug. 12 spots, amount to about $67,000. As of Wednesday, total spending this election season was nearly $5.6 million. Super PACs have spent about 36 percent of that money, or roughly $2,011,000.


DISCUSSION: What do you think about this week's political ad buys?


Track the money that is rolling into Hawaii campaigns with our guide to campaign finance issues.


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Here are the spending reports that appeared in the public files this week. Some of the Lingle contracts were also included in Civil Beat's Aug. 10 "Public File" story.

Linda Lingle

Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3

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