Ongoing Series { Who's Buying Political Ads in Hawaii

The Public File: Hanabusa, Kaneshiro Make Their TV Ad Debuts

Courtesy of VoteHanabusa

This week saw some fresh faces on local airwaves, one of whom is Democratic 1st Congressional District Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

The congresswoman spent nearly $53,000 on 209 spots that are airing through the end of the week on all the local broadcast stations. One spot aired Wednesday on KGMB during Survivor and cost $675.

The commercial praises Hanabusa for defending Medicare and funding for public education, ending Bush-era tax breaks for the rich and cooperating with GOP leaders to pass military legislation.

Hanabusa's Republican opponent, Charles Djou, this week spent at least $63,000 on 267 spots that are airing through the end of the week on all the local broadcast stations and a range of Oceanic Time Warner cable networks such as A&E, MSNBC and TNT.

Some of the most expensive spots cost $1,345 each and aired Monday and Tuesday on KHNL during the Voice.

One of the commercials that's airing is titled "I Believe" and shows scenes of Djou and his family as he promises to give jobs to young people, homes to families and care to senior citizens.

"I believe that we are heading in the wrong direction," he says, vowing to control government debt and spending.

As of Wednesday, the Republican has spent about $180,000 total on ad time this election season.

Hanabusa's TV ad debut comes as a new Civil Beat poll shows her leading Djou 49 percent to 44 percent. Political experts expect her to widen that lead as the campaign enters its final weeks and she ups her public profile through campaign appearances and media.

Each week, Civil Beat has been visiting Hawaii's three broadcast station headquarters to make hard copies of their political ad contracts in an effort to "Free the Files.". These documents reveal which candidates and independent expenditure committees are buying time on local airwaves and for how much.

Every broadcast provider is by law required to keep a publicly accessible file with these political contracts. The requirement ensures transparency, especially in light of the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which now allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money in independent campaigns that support or attack candidates.

The Federal Communications Commission recently ordered TV stations in the top 50 markets to begin posting political ad spending information online. But Hawaii's market ranks No. 71. That means our local stations, according to the FCC rule, can wait until July 1, 2014 to start posting the information online.

For now, only ad time purchased on Oceanic Time Warner cable stations are accessible online.

Other Newcomers

Incumbent Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro spent $25,000 on 84 spots that are airing through mid-October on KHON and KGMB. Two spots cost $1,000 each and are airing on KHON during NFL games this and next Sunday.

The commercial touts Kaneshiro's focus on protecting the elderly from financial fraud, cracking down on crystal meth and fighting animal cruelty.

His opponent, former deputy prosecutor Kevin Takata, has yet to buy TV ad time.

And Haunani Apoliona, a longtime Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee running for reelection, this week spent roughly $6,000 on 22 spots that are scheduled to air in late October on KGMB.

U.S. Senate Race: Candidate and Noncandidate Committees

The local contingent of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades — District Council 50 — spent another $74,000 on 183 spots that are airing on KHON, KITV and KFVE through late October.

The ad criticizes Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda Lingle's track record as Hawaii's governor, with a cowboy thanking her — Southern twang and all — for exporting jobs to the mainland.

"I hear ya'll got a grudge against ol' Governor Lingle 'cause she let us Southern boys work on your Aloha Stadium," he says. "And just 'cause Ms. Linda vetoes all ya'll's local jobs for local people law, you got all PO'd and overrode her veto."

That's when a local guy steps in: "Linda, no get my back, no get my vote," he asserts, pointing at the camera.

As of Wednesday, District Council 50 has spent roughly $97,000 on ad time this election season.

Working Families for Hawaii also dished out more money on an ad denouncing Lingle. The union-affiliated group spent roughly $38,000 on 108 spots that are airing in late October on KHON, KITV, KFVE and KGMB.

As of Wednesday, Working Families has spent about $77,000 on ad time this election season.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mazie Hirono paid $161,000 for 566 spots that scheduled to run through the Nov. 6 general election on KHON, KITV, KFVE, KGMB and KHNL. The most expensive spots cost $2,500 each and played on KHON Wednesday and Thursday during the X Factor. She also paid $1,455 for a spot that aired Tuesday on KGMB during NCIS.

As of Wednesday, the Democrat has spent nearly $900,000 on ad time since the primary, bringing her total spending on TV spots this election season up to $1.6 million.

And Lingle this week spent about $114,000 on 294 spots that are airing on all the local broadcast stations and Oceanic Time Warner cable networks. That total also includes what she spent on her cable channel.

One spot cost $5,000 and aired on KGMB Monday during Hawaii 5-0. She also paid $4,350 for a spot airing Sunday during the NFL football game on KHNL.

As of Wednesday, the Republican has spent $747,000 on post-primary ad time. She has spent more than $1.3 million total on ad time this election season.

Honolulu Mayoral Spots

Honolulu mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell this week spent about $10,000 on 23 spots airing through the end of the week on KGMB.

He also is getting political support from the Pacific Resource Partnership and Workers for a Better Hawaii.

Though no new buys showed up in PRP's files this week, revised contracts with Oceanic Time Warner cable show that the pro-rail, anti-Ben Cayetano group spent another $51,000 on 190 spots that set to air in late October through the general election.

Those spots brought PRP's post-primary spending up to $869,000. As of Wednesday, the group has spent $2.2 million on ad time this election season.

And Workers for a Better Hawaii spent $25,000 on 151 spots that are airing on various Oceanic Time Warner cable networks including ESPN, the Food Network and the History channel. As of Wednesday, the labor group has spent nearly $334,000 on ads endorsing Caldwell.

Grand Totals

Total ad buys this week amount to more than $648,000, according to Civil Beat's most recent review of the public files. As of Thursday, total post-primary TV ad spending was nearly $3.8 million. Total ad spending for the entire election season was almost $9.6 million. Non-candidate political committees have accounted for 40 percent of that money, or about $3.8 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:

Haunani Apoliona

Kirk Caldwell

District Council 50

Charles Djou

Colleen Hanabusa

Mazie Hirono

Keith Kaneshiro

Linda Lingle

Working Families for Hawaii

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