We finally got some new numbers out of the state Campaign Spending Commission this week–the first time since the Primary Election, in fact. Because really, during the final two and a half months of an election, do voters really need to see what various candidates and Political Action Committees (PACs) are spending and collecting?
Anyway, the new reports came out on Oct. 27. As I expected, one of the most interesting filings came from the Honolulu-based Super PAC Forward Progress, which is 100 percent funded by the Hawaii carpenters’ union (listed in the reports as the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program) and is run by folks from Pacific Resource Partnership, which actually had to apologize for their dirty campaigning in the 2012 Honolulu Mayor’s race. In the most recent reporting period–Aug. 10 through Oct. 20–Forward Progress took in $345,955.99 from the carpenters; during the election itself, they’ve cashed a remarkable $688,349.63–again, all from the carpenters union.
As we’ve written previously, Forward Progress mostly came to Maui to do one thing: defeat slow growth advocate/Maui County Councilmember Elle Cochran (they’re also working a Big Island campaign and have spent money on behalf of Joe Pontanilla, who’s running against Councilmember Don Guzman). They’ve paid for radio spots and glossy mailers that attack Cochran and promote political newcomer Ka‘ala Buenconsejo, her opponent.
“From wanting to vote against our farmers to raising taxes on homeowners and small businesses, Elle Cochran has proven her priorities aren’t ours,” states one anti-Cochran mailer.
During the recent reporting period, the reports show that Forward Progress spent a total of $322,297.39–a huge portion of which went to the West Maui Council race. Here are their expenditures on just mailer postage on just Cochran and Buenconsejo:
- Oppose Elle Cochran: $31,099.68
- Support Ka‘ala Buenconsejo: $22,178.88
Clearly, this is the local race to watch on Election Day. Cochran beat Buenconsejo in first in the August Primary by a 12.4 percent margin. Will she do so again?
Photo of Elle Cochran courtesy County of Maui