Money helps, but — especially in local politics — it’s not usually the determining factor in winning an election.
Accessed on 06 September 2016, 15:55 hrs, UTC.
Reporter: Nancy Cook Lauer (“West Hawaii Today”)
Please click link to read the full report.
Money isn’t everything, especially when it comes to winning elections on Hawaii Island. A study of campaign spending by winners and losers in the 2016 primary election shows that incumbents with high name recognition often beat candidates who spent more money on campaign advertising. That was particularly true with the frugal campaign of former Mayor Harry Kim, who won the mayoral election outright over 12 other candidates.
University of Hawaii at Hilo political science professor Todd Belt told reporter Nancy Cook Lauer that “local races rely heavily on name recognition, giving incumbents a distinct advantage.” Belt added that “successful incumbents have a track record that draws financial and other support from interest groups who help candidates get their messages out.”
In the case of Harry Kim, his tenure as Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency Administrator and past terms as Hawaii County Mayor boosted his name recognition and popularity. Coupled with his laid back style of campaigning, a core of dedicated volunteers, and avoidance of large contributions help cement his reputation as an electable candidate.
Incumbent strength was apparent in the race for Hawaii County Prosecutor, where Mitch Roth and challenger Mike Kagami spent about the same, but Roth “ended up with more than twice the votes.”
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