Civil Beat: Josh Green Has An Early Money Lead In 2022 Hawaii Governor’s Race

Lt. Gov. Josh Green has a strong financial position heading into the race to be Hawaii’s next governor.

Green outraised his likely opponents in the last six months of 2021, bringing in more than $770,000 between June 1 and Dec. 31.

During the same time period, former First Lady Vicky Cayetano’s campaign reported raising $825,000. But Cayetano loaned her campaign $350,000.

Meanwhile, former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s campaign reported raising $347,000 during the last six months of 2021.

Green is also in the strongest financial position of the gubernatorial candidates with more than $1.2 million sitting in his campaign account.

Green also held 14 fundraisers, the most of the three candidates, with three of them on the mainland including one in the affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Twenty-nine people with Southern California addresses donated a combined $33,749 to Green’s campaign last year. Among them were Austin Beutner ($1,000), the former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, EJ Milken ($6,000), who sits on Iolani School’s Board of Governors, and Peter Kennedy ($500), founder of social media influencer marketing platform Tagger Media.

A significant chunk of Green’s campaign donations in the past have come from mainland doctors or other companies in the medical industry. Now, Green’s campaign donors include a broad swath of local attorneys and business executives along with mainland companies.

In the last half of 2021, 42 people donated the maximum $6,000 to Green’s campaign. They include Woodruff Soldner, of the law firm Leavitt Yamane and Soldner; local Domino’s Pizza franchisee Mike Rompel; Paul Yonamine, executive chairman of the Central Pacific Bank; and Robert Harrison, president and CEO of First Hawaiian Bank.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are among businesses that maxed their contributions to Green, who in 2015 almost torpedoed efforts to legalize those dispensaries. Dispensary donors include Green Aloha, Noa Botanicals and Lau Ola LLC. David Cole, CEO of Maui Grown Therapies also donated $6,000 to Green’s campaign.

Cayetano, who is regional president of United Laundry Services, counts executives of local companies among her top donors.

Paul Kosasa, CEO of ABC Stores, Daniel Delbrel, executive chef at the Sheraton Waikiki, William Froelich, a senior vice president at Colliers International, Brad Nicolai, CEO of the JN Group, and Joshua Feldman, CEO of Tori Richards, were among the three dozen donors who gave Cayetano $6,000.

Some other notables on Cayetano’s donor list include former Honolulu Police Commission Chair Loretta Sheehan ($6,000), lobbyist Bob Toyofuku ($3,000), former schools superintendent and HMSA vice president Kathryn Matayoshi ($500) and former Hawaiian Electric CEO Michael May ($500).

Correction: A previous version of this story identified May as HECO’s CEO.

Cayetano and Caldwell share a major campaign donor.

Bert Kobayashi Sr., who has contributed handsomely to gubernatorial campaigns in the past, donated $1,000 to both candidates, although he has given Caldwell a total of $6,000 over the course of the election period.

Milton Choy, another prolific donor and owner of H20 Process Systems, also gave $6,000 to Caldwell. Choy and employees at his company have donated heavily to Democratic candidates for governor as well as other elected officials in the City and County of Honolulu.

Bryan Spicer, a television and film director who worked on “Magnum P.I.” and “Hawaii Five-0,” also donated $2,000 to Caldwell’s campaign.

Executives of companies in the construction industry have also donated to Caldwell’s campaign. They include Glenn Nohara ($2,000), a consultant with Genba Hawaii and a former member of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board, and developer Stanford Carr ($2,000).

U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele is rumored to be considering a run for governor. However, his state-level campaign committee did not report raising any money in 2021. The campaign reported having $45,886 on hand at the start of the year.

Republican candidate Lynn Mariano did not raise any money in 2021 and is starting the year with a slight deficit after renting a post office box for campaign business.

Another GOP candidate, Paul Morgan, had not filed his campaign report as of late Monday afternoon, but previously reported having $4,000 on hand in July.

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