Senate race will likely break spending records

Published: Jul. 19, 2012 at 11:33 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Senate race is expected to break state campaign spending records due to a large influx of Mainland money.

With the primary three weeks away, Republican Linda Lingle and Democrats Ed Case and Mazie Hirono have raised more than $8 million combined.

That puts them on pace to surpass the record $9 million spent during the 2002 governor's race, when Lingle was first elected to statewide office.

Hawaii's Senate race is getting a lot of national attention since its outcome could help determine who controls Congress, according to campaign finance expert Craig Holman.

"Each and every Senate race this year is critical. The Democrats and Republicans are battling neck and neck for control of the Senate," said Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen.

"The record is going to be absolutely shattered in Hawaii when you put together the candidate, party and outside spending combined."

The Mainland donors are contributing heavily to both political parties.

Lingle's major contributors include Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs Group, which gave $10,000. Bank of America Corp., Koch Industries and Halliburton Co. each gave $5,000.

Lingle said her Mainland contributions aren't excessive.

"I can tell you that my percentages are less than Gov. Abercrombie when he was in Congress. Sen. Inouye, (and) Sen. Akaka raised more money than I did. I expect a majority of my money will be raised in the state of Hawaii."

Hirono's campaign has benefited from donations from grassroots political action committees such as ActBlue.  ActBlue gave her more than $236,000 which it collected from small donors. Emily's List, another grassroots PAC, contributed $85,000.

Teachers and Firefighters unions each gave Hirono $10,000.

Ed Case's contributions mostly came from grassroots donors.

The primary is Aug. 11. More money is expected to flow into the race in these final weeks.

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