Lt. Governor candidates raise concerns about Super PAC spending

Updated: Aug. 7, 2018 at 10:22 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four days before the primary election, some candidates are pushing back against a slew of ads paid for by Super PACs.

The construction union PAC Be Change Now has spent more than $1 million dollars on television commercials supporting state Sen. Josh Green, who is running against Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho , state Sen. Jill Tokuda, former state Sen. Will Espero, and former Board of Education member Kim Coco Iwamoto.

"I'm totally surprised too by the amount of money coming this way," said Carvalho

Iwamoto, meanwhile, said she's refusing support from political action committees.

"These corporations expect a payout in return for their investment," she said.

Be Change Now, which is affiliated with the Hawaii Carpenter's Union, issued this statement:

"Josh Green has a track record and commitment to creating good paying jobs, investing in education, and building a sustainable future for all Hawaii," said Eric Koch, a spokesman for the PAC.

The ads are legal so long as the committee does not coordinate with the candidate it's promoting.

"It's particularly effective in a crowded race like this where the candidates are unknown. This is the sort of race where money matters a lot because what money does buy, it buys you name recognition," said University of Hawaii Political Science Professor Colin Moore.

Be Change Now is just one of several Super PACs playing a big role in the primary. Other unions and development interests are spending tens of thousands of dollars hoping to sway last minute voters.

Defend Hawaii Now, has also been running last-minute ads attacking Gov. Ige while the hotel union PAC has run ads supporting him.

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