Ongoing Series { Who's Buying Political Ads in Hawaii

The Public File: Caldwell's Wife Stars In New Campaign Ad

Courtesy of Friends of Kirk Caldwell

In a one-minute commercial that hit the airwaves this week, Honolulu mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell's wife Donna Tanoue gets personal.

She starts off with a quip about her husband's homegrown beginnings: "Dr. and Mrs. Caldwell (Caldwell's parents) thought that Waipahu was too big city-ish, so they decided to move to Hilo."

Tanoue then goes on to tout Caldwell's hands-on approach to leadership, highlighting his late advent into politics and his unswerving dedication to the tasks at hand.

"He loves rolling up his sleeves and being engaged," she says against a backdrop of what appears to be the Caldwell family kitchen.

Caldwell is the third candidate to appear on local airwaves in the post-primary election season.

He spent some $15,000 on 27 spots that are airing this and next week on KGMB. Any spots he may have bought on Hawaii's other broadcast stations have not yet appeared in the public files.

This week's spots mark Caldwell's first general election TV ad buys. As of Wednesday, he had spent at least $215,000 total on ad time this election season.

Civil Beat has been visiting the KHON, KITV and Hawaii News Now headquarters weekly to get copies of their political ad contracts in an effort to "Free the Files."

Broadcast stations by law are required to make the records available to the public. But Hawaii's broadcasters won't have to publish the information on the web until July 2014. Only ad buys made with Oceanic Time Warner cable are viewable online.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mazie Hirono spent nearly $59,000 on 255 spots that are airing this week on all the local broadcast stations and a range of Oceanic Time Warner cable networks.

She paid $1,500 a pop for spots airing on KHON during the Wheel of Fortune and two evening news slots. She also spent $1,000 on a spot that aired Wednesday on KITV during the ABC show Rookie Blue.

As of Wednesday, Hirono had spent some $110,000 on post-primary ad time, meaning she has spent about $824,000 total airing commercials this election season.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda Lingle spent roughly $67,000 on 230 spots airing this week on KHON, KITV, KITV subsidiary MeTV and various Oceanic Time Warner cable networks.

Her most pricey spots of the week cost $1,500 each and aired on KHNL during a variety of programming, including the 6 and 10 p.m. news, the Wheel of Fortune and Masterchef. She also paid $1,000 each for four spots that will air during the 2nd and 4th quarters of Sunday's NFL game and one that aired during Wednesday's showing of Rookie Blue.

Past contracts with Oceanic Time Warner cable also appeared this week in Lingle's online public file. The documents show that the candidate last week paid an additional $12,000 on 82 spots that aired on Oceanic Time Warner cable networks such as ESPN, TNT and USA. That's on top of the $2,500 she continues to pay the cable carrier each week for her on-demand channel.

As of Wednesday, Lingle had spent more than $344,000 on general election ad time, meaning she has spent nearly $940,000 total airing commercials this election season.

Grand Totals

Total ad buys this week amount to some $141,000, according to Civil Beat's most recent review of the public files. As of Wednesday, total post-primary TV ad spending was roughly $470,000. Total ad spending for the entire election season was nearly $6.3 million. Non-candidate political committees — which have yet to buy post-primary ad time — have spent 32 percent of that money, or roughly $2 million.


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 this week's spending reports.

Kirk Caldwell

Mazie Hirono

Linda Lingle

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