Anti-rail group sets up own super PAC
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Get ready for more negative political ads in the Honolulu mayoral race.
An anti-rail group is setting up its own "super PAC" to counter what it says are "lies" and "mudslinging" attacks on candidate Ben Cayetano by pro-rail groups.
SaveOurHonolulu.com will allow Cayetano's supporters to spend unlimited amounts of money in the mayor's race. Some of the ads will likely target Cayetano's opponent Kirk Caldwell.
Organizers said the committee was largely in response to what they see as mudslinging by the pro-rail Pacific Resource Partnership. That group is responsible for spending more than $1 million attacking Cayetano.
"I know and you know that these are scurrilous lies they are telling and they're saying so much out of context that its intentionally and dramatically misleading," said UH law professor Randy Roth, who is SaveOurHonolulu.com's secretary.
The group is headed by retired appellate court judge Judge Walter Heen, who is stepping down as chairman of Cayetano's mayoral campaign. It also includes longtime rail critic Cliff Slater, who is its treasurer.
Roth says he doesn't know how much money the group will raise but experts say the amounts will have to be significant to counter the pro-rail campaign.
"PACs have been hugely influential in the mayoral race with an absolutely huge amount of money being spent and no sign of stoppage," said John Hart, chairman of Hawaii Pacific University's Communications Department.
"And at some point I think you have to fight fire with fire."
Roth said the group will be transparent and will disclose the identities of its donors.
PRP and Caldwell's campaign had no immediate comment.
SaveOurHonolulu is so new that it's web site is not yet running. But with the general elections about a month away, the clock is ticking for the group to raise enough money and get their message out.
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