Ahead in the polls, Djou racks up campaign contributions

Ahead in the polls, Djou racks up campaign contributions

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Campaign contributions are starting to flow to mayoral contender Charles Djou, who has an edge in the political polls.

And a lot of that money is coming from an unexpected source: longtime Democrats.

State campaign spending records show that in July, the Republican raised more than $225,000 for the nonpartisan mayoral race.

That's more than three times the $68,000 that Mayor Kirk Caldwell received and the $56,000 raised by former Mayor Peter Carlisle.

"The fact that we have so many traditional Democrats coming on board helping us is a reflection that these issues facing Honolulu -- the mess with the rail system, this need to address homelessness -- stretches across party lines," Djou told Hawaii News Now.

The prominent Democratic donors include former Gov. Ben Cayetano's longtime backer, engineer Dennis Mitsunaga. He and his employees gave about $17,000.

Djou is "leading in the polls," said University of Hawaii political science professor Colin Moore.

"For the most part a lot of campaign donors want to back a winner."

Some of the donations came from employees and executives working for city contractors that were embroiled in the pay-to-play scandal a decade ago during former Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign runs.

"Djou has to be careful about this," Moore added, "and be clear that he's not going to engage in practices that happened in the past."

Djou said that he's "promised no contracts to anybody."

"And if they want to donate to my campaign and they think there's going to be an expectation if I win that they're going to get something out of it, they're going to be sorely mistaken," he said.

With less than 10 days left before the primary election, Djou has about $200,000 in cash left to spend while Caldwell has over $770,000.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.