I got curious this morning about how important money was in the primary election.
In a quick check of just a few races, money is important–it’s terribly hard to win without any–but the person with the most money doesn’t always win.
I checked the candidate’s pre-primary campaign reports and compared them to the election results, sticking to campaigns where the value of incumbency wasn’t an issue.
Starting at the top, Neil Abercrombie beat Mufi Hannemann in the Democratic gubernatorial primary despite Hannemann’s significant money advantage through most of the campaign.
In the Lt. Governor’s race on the Democratic side, top vote-getter Brian Schatz raised $615,027 to 2nd place finisher Bobby Bunda’s $393,859.
But both were topped by the $647,073 raised by Norman Sakamoto, who finished a relatively distant third. Gary Hooser, who started his campaign very early, raised a respectable $295,508 but fell short in this field, placing fourth in both money and votes.
In the race for the City Council District IV seat to replace Charles Djou, Richard Turbin ($212,651) beat Stanley Chang ($139,957) by 50% in the race for dollars, but placed second behind Chang in votes.
Similarly, in the race to replace Lyla Berg in House District 18, the top vote getter, Mark Hashem ($13,555), raised less money than his two Democratic rivals but led the field in votes by a comfortable 37.9% to Lane’s 26.6% ($26,000) and Albert Lee’s 16.2% ($15,970).
Over in House District 31, the seat vacated by Glenn Wakai, who is running for Senate, the votes followed the money in order. Top vote getter, Linda Ichiyama, also had the biggest war chest ($59,523), far ahead of second-place finisher Ryan Toyomura ($13,400).
I would conclude that a candidate’s ability to raise money is very important, all other things being equal.
Luckily, all other things aren’t always equal.