EXCLUSIVE: Schatz adds $800K to political war chest
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the race for Hawaii's U.S. Senate seat heats up, the big money is beginning to pour in.
Preliminary figures show that Sen. Brian Schatz has raised more than $820,000 during the second quarter 2014, it's best quarter in a year.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa won't report her figures until next week but one source familiar with the campaign says Hanabusa will report a increase from the $432,000 it raised during the first quarter 2014. But that increase will likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars less than Schatz' second quarter results.
"It shows that support for Schatz is still robust. People think he has a real serious chance to take this race so his campaign funds are matching that," said Colin Moore, a University of Hawaii Political Science professor.
Since January 2013, the Schatz camp has raised more than $4.7 million and is on pace to double the amounts raised by Hanabusa.
"This kind of thing is not fatal but it's not the kind of ball you want to be playing," John Hart, a Hawaii Pacific University communications professor, said of Hanabusa's collections.
Despite the fundraising deficit, experts say it's a close race. They note that Hanabusa will benefit from her name recognition and her organization's ability to get voters to the polls.
The Hanabusa campaign has acknowledged early on that it's not likely to raise more money than Schatz, who, as an incumbent, can more readily tap Mainland donors and political action committees.
Figures through the first quarter 2014 show that Schatz's biggest donors include the League of Conservation Voters and the JStreetPac, a pro-Israel group. Other prominent Mainland donors include billionaires Michael Bloomberg and turnaround expert Leon Black.
So far, Hanabusa camp's largest donor is also a Mainland group, the pro-women's rights Emily's List.
Other big backers included executives from Hawaiian Electric Industries and Matson Inc., long time supporters of former Sen. Daniel Inouye.
"Certainly, the late Sen. Inouye casts a long shadow," Hart said.
The full breakdowns of where both camps are getting their money won't be available until next week.
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