Kahele misses deadline for public funding in governor’s race


U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele won’t receive any public campaign funds in his quest to become Hawaii’s next governor.

That’s because he and his campaign missed last month’s deadline to file a signed and notarized affidavit promising to adhere to campaign spending limits of $2.1 million for the gubernatorial primary on Aug. 13. Had the deadline been met, his campaign could’ve received as much as $208,000 in public funds.


It’s a blow for Kahele, a Hilo resident who has promised to reject large donations from corporations, unions and political action committees and accept only donations of $100 or less.

“The ineligibility of our campaign to receive a public funding match rests solely on my shoulders,” Kahele said today in a statement. “Although we received over 2,000-plus individual donations across the state contributing to our grassroots campaign, we missed the affidavit affirming our commitment to the $2 million expenditure limit.

“If getting big money out of politics is our goal, we need to make the state’s partial public funding process easier and more streamlined for all candidates. I know we will need to work twice as hard, and Maria, our team and I are looking forward to continuing to build on the incredible energy that we are experiencing towards our vision for Hawaii.”

Kahele, who entered the gubernatorial race late, faces an uphill battle in the primary. The other major candidates in the Democratic primary are Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Vicky Cayetano, a successful businesswoman and former Hawaii first lady.

If Kahele wins the Democratic primary, his failure to file the affidavit by the deadline means he’s also ineligible for an additional $208,000 in public funding for the Nov. 8 primary, Tony Baldomero, associate director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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