Latest Articles

  • Outside Money Having Outsized Influence on Hawaii Governors Race

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Super PACs funded by groups based on the mainland have spent more trying to influence the Hawaii governors race since the Aug. 9 primary than the candidates have themselves, according to the latest filings with the state Campaign Spending Commission.

    The public got its first look Monday at just how much cash the most active of these independent expenditure committees have put toward saturating the airwaves with ads targeting Democrat David Ige and Republican Duke Aiona.

    Two super PACs in particular have set the pace, spending a combined $3.2 million to sway voters

  • Which Hawaii Candidate Spent the Most Money Per Vote?

    · By Nathan Eagle

    A dozen people in Hawaii are set to enjoy influential, decently paid jobs with great benefits for the next two years and all they had to do was sign up to run for office.

    That’s according to a list of interesting 2014 election stats compiled by the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission staff. They let the numbers do most of the talking, whether it’s how many people have already won seats in state and county offices before the Nov. 4 general election has even taken place or how many super PACs have been working to influence races without filing a

  • Hawaii Candidates for Congress Fundraise to the Finish Line

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Mark Takai needed more campaign money — and he got it.

    The Democratic candidate for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District raised just over $200,000 — including $85,000 from political action committees, or PACs — during the first half of October, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission.

    His Republican opponent, Charles Djou, pulled in $72,000 but outspent Takai by almost $82,000 during the same 15-day period.

    Charles Djou and Mark Takai share a laugh during a congressional debate at the Plaza Club in Honolulu on

  • Is Cayetano’s Complaint Against Super PAC a Criminal Matter?

    · By Nathan Eagle

    It’s not over yet.

    The state Campaign Spending Commission decided Wednesday to defer until November a complaint that former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano filed against the super PAC that crushed his bid for mayor in 2012.

    Pacific Resource Partnership, a political action committee funded by contractors and unionized carpenters, spent over $3 million on a coordinated attack to keep Cayetano out of office after he pledged to end Honolulu’s $5.2 billion rail project if elected.

    “I’m not doing this for any kind of motive like revenge — the public

  • Should Hawaii Purge More People from List of Registered Voters?

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Hawaii’s infamously low voter turnout may not be quite as bad as it seems.

    That’s because thousands of people who are still on the registered voter list have moved, gone to prison or died since the last election, lowering the overall turnout percentages published by the state Office of Elections in any given year.

    Heading into the Nov. 4 general election, the state has identified 626,431 people as “active” on its master list of 706,890 registered voters.

    Voting booths are lined up and ready for voters

  • Chad Blair: Too Many Forums for Gubernatorial Candidates?

    · By Chad Blair

    If debates determined the winners of elections, Mufi Hannemann would be our next governor.

    I’ve attended, watched or participated in most of the forums and debates between the gubernatorial candidates in the general election period, and I’ve made it a point to ask lots of folks after each event who did best. In most cases, the answer is Hannemann.

    That was the case in the most recent debate, the Hawaii News Now town hall at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Kakaako Oct. 15. As the station’s political analyst, UH Political Science professor Colin

  • Takai Campaign Raises More Money, But Djou Has More Cash on Hand

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Democrat Mark Takai has raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Republican Charles Djou in their tight race to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years.

    But Djou had more than twice as much cash on hand in his campaign account — $626,191 to be exact — at the end of the most recent reporting period with the Federal Elections Commission.

    With absentee ballots in the mail and early walk-in voting set to start Tuesday, Takai and Djou have their campaigns operating at full speed. Expect an uptick

  • Super PACs Wade Into Local Races, and Voters Are Left in the Dark

    · By Nathan Eagle

    As independent groups continue their efforts to influence Hawaii elections by flooding airwaves with ads about ballot issues and stuffing mailboxes with fliers about candidates, voters are mostly left in the dark about who is spending the money and where it’s coming from.

    These political action committees last filed finance reports with the state Campaign Spending Commission in August, which shed some light on who contributed the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent before the primary election and how those funds were used.

    But their next reports aren’t

  • Fightland Features Kauai Mayoral Candidate’s Fight Against GMOs

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Former pro surfer and MMA fighter Dustin Barca got some help in his uphill battle to unseat Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. this fall.

    Fightland, a VICE show, released a nine-minute video this week about Barca’s fight against genetically modified seed companies, like Monsanto and Syngenta, that spurred him to seek office.

    For a first-time candidate, he put up a strong showing in the Aug. 9 primary, securing 31 percent of the vote to Carvalho’s 58 percent. The general election results next month probably won’t differ too much, but it does say a lot about the

  • Djou Says He’s a ‘Pragmatist’ Ready to ‘Get Things Done’ for Hawaii

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Editor’s Note: Civil Beat sat down with Mark Takai, Charles Djou’s Democratic opponent, in September. Read the story from that interview here.

    Charles Djou is so close to possibly winning a seat in Congress that he can almost smell the cherry blossoms that will be blooming next spring in Washington, D.C.

    With less than a month until Election Day, he and his supporters have the campaign running at full tilt — from candidate forums and coffee hours to phone banking and sign waving.

    Djou, a Republican running against Democratic state

  • GMO? Pesticides? Labeling? Hawaii Gov Candidates Have This to Say

    · By Nathan Eagle

    With the GMO issue heating up in Hawaii ahead of the Nov. 4 election, which includes a ballot question for Maui voters to potentially ban genetically modified farming until it’s proven safe, the top candidates for governor were pressed to share their views this week.

    A televised debate hosted by Civil Beat and KITV News uncovered new ground on where Republican Duke Aiona, Democrat David Ige and Hawaii Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann stand on reforming the state’s public hospital system and balancing the budget, which we reported Wednesday.

    The forum also featured three questions about genetically modified organisms.

  • Do You ‘Care Like Crazy’ About Women’s Rights, War, Student Loans?

    · By Nathan Eagle

    “Asians. You can work them long hours, they do what you tell them and they don’t complain.”

    That’s how one of several new Rock the Vote ads begins, part of the nonprofit’s $250,000 national media campaign that launched Thursday to get young people to the polls on Nov. 4.

    The actor delivering those words is portraying a type of voter. This ad, as well as several others like it, is meant to be offensive and spur Millennials in particular to stand up for their beliefs by casting ballots for candidates who support their views.

    The ads are part of Rock the