Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 2

Unreal.  So much happening that I now split Part 2.  I’ll use a Subject line a little more innovative than “Part 3.”  Data today, HRP and my predictions tomorrow.

There were too many notes for one post so I sent Part 1 on Monday focused on national and top-of-ticket state races.  In three days since, the national scene has changed (most in our favor). Locally, we’re a little more down but still with margin of error.  Part 2 focuses on state races, mostly.  This is a summary of information that you couldn’t get while you concentrated on helping your conservative or R candidate.   I list the previous reports at the bottom.  No secrets, feel free to share this with other conservatives and tea people.

Scant days to go.  Races are tight.  Candidates’ are trying to not make a mistake and not be distracted.  Everyone must pull, regardless of your race, or everyone loses.

Some 40% of the votes in this election are already cast.  For conservative voters:  You should have already voted.  If not, do not vote for a D even if they are more conservative than your R.  Vote and support, or not, after you CAREFULLY study and understand positions on the economy, education, life, Akaka, civil unions and taxes.

Campaign Spending.  Money isn’t everything, as long as you have it.  CSC reports as of Oct 18 are posted.  On the CSC site (FEC for federal races), you’ll enjoy seeing who raises how much, from where it comes and where they spend it.  You’ll be pleased (or shocked) with where your candidate gets money and where he or she spends your money.  Seeing R names on D reports is interesting.  Some big names can’t raise and some newcomers do well.  Funds are crucial with the cost of campaigns increasing and our having to run against incumbents though, in smaller races, DtD can offset a lack of fundraising prowess.  Small dollar, local money is one indicator of a candidate’s strength (or weakness) in a district.  Political parties deal in federal and state monies (though that doesn’t mean what you think) and have concerns different from candidates.  We expect parties and outside money to do the hitting, leaving candidates to tell their nice story.  Many HI PACs raise little money but some (D) have tens of thousands.  Some candidate notables for us:  First timers on the high end raised:  H28 Chang (80k) holy cow, H32 Johanson (54k) and H18 Baron (51k) very nicely done, H4 Hapai (32k).  Notables on the low end who can use your help:  S4 Siebert and S13 Franklin at 17k, H1 Vannetta (0), no Kauai R raised over $2500, H20 Allen (4k) and H23 White ($600) and some raised less.  Ds also receive considerably more outside help (I rec’d at least five mailers about my D, not from my D).  Rs and conservatives need to better build and fund PACs.  Interesting: well over 1.2M was spent on the D LG primary.  They could use that to pay the taxes I expect them to raise.

Aiona and Aiona/F got whacked by Abercrombie and Abercrombie/S, respectively, but Ds have access to a lot more money.  So much outside money came in, mainly the early RGA commercials for Aiona and the unions for Abercrombie/S that it becomes a wash.  RGA and DGA and other PACs are blurring the airwaves.  For the campaigns as of Oct 18, Aiona/F had 257k COH with 59k in unpaid expenditures and Abercrombie/S had 515k COH with 126k in loans+ 67k in unpaid expenditures.  They are still raising money (until 6pm on Nov 2) though Aiona says he has enough.  Neither candidate wants to be in debt on Nov 3 but the winner has an easier time paying the bills.

CSC posts finance data from each cycle.  ’08 senate averages raised were Rs/53k and Ds/82k.  Also, averages for senate winning and losing (113k/37k) races.  R senate candidates didn’t come near historical averages or what they set out to raise.  However, it comes down to the race (neighbor islands are less expensive, open seats are less expensive) and opponent (some Ds are terrible raisers).  S24 Bean (46k) would have been more competitive against H48 Ito but took on Tokuda’s 81k.  S25 Enos (27k) rec’d early Oct max money from HRP and Lingle Campaign to keep up with her opponent Ryan (26k).  S25 may be the most inexpensive senate race in recent history.  Two R senate candidates raised 0 and three more raised <$1000 so 5/13 didn’t try.

R House candidates in ’08 raised 22k and Ds raised 25k.  Winning and losing are 33k/16k.  H28 Chang’s 80k is great anywhere, anytime.  H18 Baron and H32 Johanson 50k+ is very good.  Remember those numbers when you tell your friends that there is no political money out there.  H4 Hapai (32k) fares well against Hanohano (17k) on the Big Island and Maui’s H11 Fontaine’s raised 15k against the hapless Bertram.  Of 46 House races, 8 campaigns have not submitted current reports.  What we can gather is:  6 campaigns raised no money at all,  7 more raised a couple hundred, 11 more raised less than 5k, along with 4 more which never submitted any report.  So, 28/46 races didn’t try.

Unless they’ve helped since Oct 18, our unopposed incumbents are sitting on 83k.  Of course, it is not their money.  Their donors gave it for their election effort and they may not agree to where it goes.  I’m one of those donors but I did give it up so they can legally give it away.  Lingle finally maxed out to HRP, again helped candidates and virtually emptied her ’06 coffers.  Djou helped some candidates with his state account, his numbers are not included in the 83k.  Pine is in a race and still spreads her money to help new candidates; she better win.

Other races we are watching.  HNL Council IV newcomer Chang (235k) in his first time out and Turbin (380k inc 136k+ self-funded).  Tavares (366k) vs Arakawa (268k) rematch Maui Mayor and Couch (39k) rematch against Nishiki (4k) for South Maui Council.

Platform.  Is there something wrong with our (non)platform or is something wrong with HRP recruiting?  Don’t have the time to address the five words which we call a platform, five words that we allow anyone to interpret any way they desire.  There is a disconnect.  It can’t be that the platform is TOO conservative because it doesn’t say anything.  It can be that our recruits are liberal.  Two examples are (1) taxes and (2) endorsements.

Endorsements are endorsements.  You should understand and use the data..  Many (say, SHOPO) are nice but are politically driven and most media are biased towards liberals.  Also, candidates can hide their truth on questionnaires and in interviews.  It is simply information.

The NRA.  After all these years, I’ll leave NRA over their support of national (and local) Ds.  I understand we (NRA) are an issue-oriented PAC but I’m looking for organizations with a view of the bigger conservative picture.

NRA endorsements indicate that many local Rs are not 2d Amendment conservatives.  Ok, sorry, I expect a ‘duh’ for that statement.  Financially, it doesn’t matter much to the candidate.  NRA (or HRA) does not spend money on these races and, in HI, the endorsements garner little support.  At least I rec’d the NRA endorsements, never saw the HRA picks.  In what has become a non-surprise, of state races, only 4/8 R incumbents (Slom, Pine, Ching, Finnegan) receive A ratings.  Thielen is C-, Aiona is C+ and Ward & Marumoto B (low score is F).

This will blow your mind.  Of HRP recruited challengers:  In 20 races neither R nor D are endorsed.  In 28 more races the D is endorsed over the R.  I guess it is good that we have these 48 candidates versus not having them.  The bad news is that HRP recruited 48 candidates who either don’t support the 2d Amendment enough to be endorsed or their D opponent is more supportive of the constitution.  This may be a result of leadership and party leadership being anti-2d Amendment or the result of …… what, coincidenece?

It is easier to list Rs who are endorsed: S7 Hamman, S8 Slom, S13 Franklin, S14 Dudek, S25 Enos, H9 Hoylman, H14 Williams, H22 Caudra, H25 Sabey, H27 Ching, H28 Chang, H33 Kong, H38 Kawakami, H43 Pine, H49 Aiona, LG Finnegan.

Notables NOT receiving the endorsement (some did not return the questionnaire):  S4 Seibert, S9 Shorba, S20 Montes, S24 Bean, H6 Leau (no Big Island R got it), H7 Henderson, H10 Madden, H11 Fontaine, H17 Ward, H18 Baron, H23 White, H32 Johanson, H36 Shiraki, H42 Berg, H46 Riviere, H47 Fale, H50 Thielen, Gov Aiona

On the other hand, to not put too much emphasis on the NRA, at least one high office holder received an A rating even though he supports gun registration.

Hawaii Right to Life PAC has their endorsements at  More data to make an informed decision.  The high number is probably because of the influx of religious right candidates.  When you review the list, take a look at whom is NOT on it and read the notes.  Regardless of your position, it is information.

Star-Advertiser runs a series of endorsements.  We spend 23 months of a cycle bemoaning the liberal paper and it’s liberal political messaging.  We do the same with their candidate and issue endorsements.  Unless they endorse us.  Then we’re happy.  Remember, they are a liberal paper with a liberal political agenda.  When they endorse, I remind myself that they are liberal, I question the political motive of each endorsement and I use their information the same as I do the other 23 months.

Taxes.  GRIH announced that 47 Rs signed the ATR Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  Thank you to conservatives who are brave enough to sign TPP.  However, and you knew there was a ‘however,’ it begs the question “what about the others?”  I am confident that GRIH offered candidates the opportunity to sign.  Not raising taxes.  Which R won’t pledge to that?  HRP says there are 65 left in the general.  Those who did not sign the pledge:  H2 Vanetta, H3 Cortez-Camero, H6 Leau, H14 Williams, H15 Fillhart, H21 Lembeck, H22 Caudra, H24 Thomson, H28 Chang, H29 Harding, H35 Yago, 36 Shiraki, 37 Fukumoto, 38 Kawakami, 40 Capelouto, 41 Wong, 47 Fale, 49 Aiona, 51 Wolfgramm, S2 Hale, S7 Hamman, S9 Shorba, S20 Montes, S24 Bean, Gov Aiona.  Please check GRIH site for updates because it is hard to imagine any R wouldn’t sign the TPP (each of you reading this should have bookmarked).

TPP becomes symbolic because we (Rs and conservatives) don’t hold candidates to their pledge: Lingle is one example, and most of our house members voted for at least one increase.  It should make a difference to conservatives.  If conservatives want change, we have to make some decisions and choose principled candidates.

Truth in advertising.  Without third party money, we don’t get the whole story.  Voters say they don’t like negative ads but polling shows that they work.  If they didn’t work, why are they used, why do candidates protest them and why do candidates disavow them?   You never hear a candidate say “I am glad my opponent wastes his money on hit ads that don’t work.”  An exaggeration that expresses the sentiment, “Candidates have told me that every dollar spent on a positive ad is a wasted dollar in 2010,” (Sabato).  Not lies, not mean, but a presentation of facts that the voter may otherwise not get.  Telling an incumbent’s voting record, contrasting the opponent’s positions or providing information about an opponent helps voters make an informed decision.  Someone or some organization needs to tell the other side of the story.  HRP could have been more supportive of local races had they not spent their money (a lot from NRCC) on mailers for Djou, 12 that I saw went to a “Green.”  Typical strategy is for a candidate to not hit and to vigorously make distance from the hit.  In HI where we campaign against Ds who have been elected by their constituents for two to ten terms, you better come to the table with more than “vote for me because I am a nice guy.”  There is a different strategy when you’re up in the polls and different one for incumbents.  When a candidate broadcasts a lie or does something stupid (see Hannemann, Gov Primary) that also gives you information on which to base your vote.  More – Anyone believe Inouye’s ad for ‘civility’ is anything more than a negative ad that also helps his campaign?  Do you think Lingle’s rushed press conference this afternoon, timed to make the news cycle, was to defend herself or to promote Aiona?  If the hit ad to which she refers wasn’t working, why give it more attention?

Tea party candidates.  There is lots of angst among Rs that tea “extremists” shouldn’t be elected.  I see the ire aimed at O’Donnell, Paul and even DeMint.  Many Rs refuse to vote for or support them.  At the same time, I hear “you have to vote for so-and-so even if they are liberal because they are the only one we have against the D.”  I am not in the tea party.  I question the sincerity and conservative bona fides of the current R party.  I see the R anger towards R tea party people as disingenuous, small-tent, thinking.

Befuddling, Rs calling for anything appointed rather than elected.  Making the elective process work, recruiting better candidates, getting good candidates elected.  That sounds Republican.  Appointing and trading favors for appointments is so democrat.  I understand Lingle, as gov, calling for an appointed BoE.  The hierarchy is screwed up and we should abolish the BoE.  If Lingle thinks an appointed BoE will fix education, why isn’t she calling for an appointed legislature to fix government or appointed governor to fix the state?  I do not understand HRP calling for appointments.  Some folks disagree.  Well, they agree on principle but they think the current process hasn’t worked.  Huh?  Why not make it work?  Conservatives argue against the taking of our right to determine our lives.  I see this trend also in Rs’ refusal (one told me ‘fear’) to call for a plebiscite on Akaka Bill.  We can’t vote for everything and we are a republic.  I understand.  We are blessed to have a spectrum of options with our government determining everything on one side of the spectrum and the people voting for everything on the other.  If offered just those two extremes, wouldn’t Rs side with the people’s decision or am I missing something in the “less gov’t” part of the platform?  Candidates go where they want, a party should stand on principle.  Befuddling.

This cycle is so much more enjoyable than ’08 with Obama pulling 70%.  One more, national-level, comment that I found early in the week to be an amusing sign of this good R election cycle:  “When people ask us our hot hunch for an upset, we say that Harry Reid could still win.”  Four days later, it looks more likely he will lose.

Early voting closes this weekend.  Election day is Tuesday.  Good luck.





Last minute (week) tidbits, for conservatives, part 1

Djou – Remember When?  Update

Races to Watch

Primary Election – Fun With Numbers