Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Djou has begun the summer with a solid advantage in campaign contributions over his likely Democratic general election foe, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.
In reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, Djou said he had more than $379,000 in the bank as of June 30. Since he began running for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District seat last year, Djou has raised more than $1.6 million.
Hanabusa reported having $211,000 on hand at the end of June after raising about $1.4 million since last year.
Djou won a May special election against Hanabusa and Democrat Ed Case for the seat that Democrat Neil Abercrombie had held for almost 20 years. The 1st District represents urban Honolulu.
The money haul led the head of Common Cause Hawaii to call on both candidates to support legislation that would implement partial public financing of congressional campaigns.
"We know our democracy is in trouble when a candidate's political worth is measured by the amount of money in their bank accounts rather than the quality of the ideas they're running on," said Executive Director Nikki Love.
The 39-year-old Djou considers himself an underdog in the November general election contest against Hanabusa, who like Djou faces weak primary election opposition. But he has advantages beyond the larger war chest.
Since taking office, Djou has tried to stay in the news with occasional appearances on local and national news television programs. His call for the Obama Administration to waive a long-standing maritime law to aid the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and his opposition to the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, earned him valuable attention.
On the other hand, Democrats consider Djou vulnerable given the fact that a much more liberal Abercrombie won the district 10 times and Hanabusa will have the full support of a Democratic icon, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.
In the last two weeks of June, Djou collected almost $177,000, including $97,000 from political action committees controlled by GOP House leaders, Microsoft Corp., GEICO, and groups representing mortgage bankers, small businesses, dentists, the cable TV industry and construction firms.
During the same period, Hanabusa garnered $107,200, including $26,000 in PAC donations from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders, the pro-abortion rights group Emily's List, the parent company of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and the credit union industry.
In Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, which represents the remainder of the state, Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono raised more than $707,000 since last year, and had $681,000 on hand as of June 30.
Former TV reporter Ramsay Wharton, who is seeking the Republican nomination, raised about $16,300, and her account showed $6,850 at the end of last month. The FEC report for a rival, pilot John Willoughby, was not available Friday.