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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hawaii Governor Rakes in Millions Before New Law Takes Effect

As Derrick DePledge reports in the Hawaii Advertiser, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has ramped up her campaign fundraising efforts in anticipation of new restrictions to take effect in January. Lingle announced yesterday that she expects to spend $6 million on the 2006 governor's race, breaking her own record of $5.4 million, set during the 2002 governor's race.

During her unsuccessful 1998 gubernatorial bid, Lingle raised 9.4% of her campaign cash from out-of-state, according to data obtained from the Institute of Money in State Politics ($336,223 of a total $3,563,211). In her 2002 bid, she upped the out-of-state cash to 19.4% of her total, which was enough to get her into office ($1,056,845 of a total $5,380,071). It appears as though Lingle is now trying to grab as much mainland cash as possible before January in her efforts to stay in office.

The new law limits the amount a candidate can take from out-of-state sources to 20% during any reporting period, in addition to placing some restrictions on contributions from state contractors. The Alaska Supreme Court has upheld Alaska's restrictions on out-of-state contributions, while federal district courts struck Oregon's and Vermont's out-of-state restrictions.

Out-of-state restrictions on campaign cash make a great deal of sense, especially if campaign laws prevent wealthy in-state interests from dominating elections. Josephine B. in Chicago shouldn't have more say in who runs Hawaii than Samuel C. in Honolulu, for example.

Governor Lingle should abide by the spirit of the new law and representative democracy and make her case to the people of Hawaii, rather than mainlanders in New York or California.

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