Ongoing Series { Who's Buying Political Ads in Hawaii

The Public File: $13.8M Spent on Local TV Ads

Flickr: DonkeyHotey

A final review of the public files shows that candidate and noncandidate committees spent more than $13.8 million total airing political TV ads on local airwaves this election season.

Noncandidate committees, including a number of mainland super PACs, spent about 35 percent of that money.

That includes two independent committees that entered the scene late in the game, airing their first TV ads of the season Nov. 2 — just days before the general election.

One was the Democratic Party of Hawaii, whose commercial endorsed U.S. Senate elect Mazie Hirono. The group spent nearly $93,000 on 151 spots that aired through Tuesday on all the local broadcast stations. One spot cost $3,000 and aired Sunday on KHON during the NFL game.

The other was a Washington, D.C.-based super PAC known as the Majority PAC, which also supported Hirono. According to its website, the group's mission was to "protect the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate in 2012."

The Majority PAC spent close to $58,000 on 72 spots that aired through Tuesday on all the local broadcast stations.

Hirono won her bid for the Senate seat in a landslide victory over Republican candidate Linda Lingle.

In an effort to track how much money candidates and other political committees were spending to air commercials on local airwaves, Civil Beat in May started visting Hawaii's broadcast stations weekly to get copies of ad contracts stored in their public political files. The documents showed which political candidates and independent committees were buying ad time and for how much. The project was inspired national media outlet ProPublica's "Free the Files" series.

Other Political Ad Buys

Here's an overview of local ad time spending over the course of the election season:

Independent Expenditure Committees

  • Fund for Freedom spent about $365,000 on ad time this election season.

  • Pacific Resource Partnership spent about $958,000 on post-primary ad time. The group spent about $2.2 million total on ad time this election season

  • Save Our Honolulu this week spent more than $5,000 on 17 spots that aired through Tuesday on KITV and KHNL. The group spent about $141,000 on ad time this election season.

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent about $1 million on post-primary ad time. The business organization spent about $1.2 million total on ad time this election season.

  • Workers for a Better Hawaii this week spent $7,000 on nine spots that aired Monday on KGMB. The group spent about $434,000 on ad time this election season.

  • Working Families for Hawaii spent about $83,000 on ad time this election season.

Honolulu Mayor

  • Mayor-elect Kirk Caldwell spent nearly $150,000 on post-primary ad time. He spent about $423,000 on ad time this election season.

  • Ben Cayetano this week spent $5,000 on 71 spots that aired on a range of Oceanic Time Warner cable. He spent more than $193,000 on post-primary ad time. He spent about $494,000 total on ad time this election season.

U.S. Representative, Congressional District 1

  • Republican candidate Charles Djou this week spent about $22,000 on 24 spots that aired on KHON, KITV, KGMB and KHNL. He spent about $111,000 total on ad time this election season.

  • Democratic Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa this week spent nearly $22,000 on 44 spots that aired on KGMB and KHNL. She spent about $353,000 on ad time this election season.

U.S. Senator

  • Hirono this week spent an additional $4,200 on two spots that aired Monday on KGMB. She spent about $1.6 million on post-primary ad time. She spent about $2.3 million on ad time this election season.

  • Lingle spent about $1.4 million on post-primary ad time. She spent about $2 million total this election season.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

  • Kelii Akina spent $3,600 on ad time this election season.

  • Haunani Apoliona spent about $13,000 on ad time this election season.

  • Cal Lee spent about $17,000 on ad time this election season.

  • Carmen Hulu Lindsey this week spent $800 on two spots that aired Nov. 2 on KHON. She has spent about $5,000 total this election season.

Honolulu Prosecutor

  • Incumbent prosecutor-elect Keith Kaneshiro spent about $32,000 on ad time this election season.

Grand Totals

Total ad buys this week amount to about $210,000, according to Civil Beat's most recent review of the public files. Total post-primary TV ad spending was about $8 million. Total ad spending for the entire election season was more than $13.8 million. Non-candidate political committees have accounted for 35 percent of that money, or about $4.8 million.


DISCUSSION: What do you think about all the money spent on local political ads this election?


Here are the most recent spending reports:

Kelii Akina

Democratic Party of Hawaii

Charles Djou

Colleen Hanabusa

Mazie Hirono

Carmen Hulu Lindsey

Pacific Resource Partnership

Save Our Honolulu

Workers for a Better Hawaii

Working Families for Hawaii

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