HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Donovan Dela Cruz announced Thursday that he is dropping out of the race for Honolulu mayor, and will instead run for the state senate seat being vacated by Robert Bunda.
The two-term city councilman and former council chair said the decision to withdraw from the race came down to the fact that there was too little cash in his campaign chest, and the economy made it hard to raise money.
"If you don't have the kind of money to get on television, to do commercials, do radio, newspaper, you know, its going to be hard for us to get that message out," Dela Cruz said.
Dela Cruz was in a race that already featured some big names, including Honolulu prosecutor Peter Carlisle, and city managing director -- and now acting mayor -- Kirk Caldwell.
Dela Cruz said he will seek to fill the remaining term of Bunda, who resigned from his senate seat to run for Lieutenant Governor.
"It's a much smaller race, you don't need the kind of funding that you'd need in the mayor's race," Dela Cruz said, "and it still allows me the opportunity to reach out to my constituents and show that I have the experience."
Dela Cruz believes he would have needed $400,000 to stay competitive in the race for mayor. He said he had only $30,000 in his campaign chest.
He called the decision to drop out of the mayor's race "one of the most difficult personal political decisions that I've ever been faced with." But he believed its the right decision, as the senate district includes his hometown of Wahiawa.
"I'm committed to my community," said Dela Cruz, "I'm dedicated to public service, and I felt at this juncture, this is the best way that I could continue, especially in the community where I was born and raised."
Dela Cruz's opponents for the senate seat include state House Vice Speaker Michael Magaoay and former state lawmaker Gerald Hagino.
Dela Cruz is finishing up his eighth year on the council. Term limits allow council members only two four-year terms. The withdrawal leaves Caldwell, Carlisle, engineering professor Panos Prevedouros and City Councilman Rod Tam remaining as major candidates for the Honolulu's top job.
The special election for mayor will be held on Saturday September 18.