Tsutsui’s funds $357K in effort to keep his post

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui has $357,086 available as he enters this election year and attempts to retain the state’s second-highest elected office.

In his disclosure to the state Campaign Spending Commission, Tsutsui reported adding $102,835.90 in contributions in the second half of 2013 to the $294,406.83 he had available at the end of July. He also disclosed spending $40,156.66 from July 1 to Dec. 31, leaving him with a surplus of a little more than $357,000.

The amount of his surplus leaves him second only to Mayor Alan Arakawa in having the most money available among Maui County-based politicians heading into this election year. Arakawa reported having a surplus of $379,294.

Tsutsui’s records on contributions received in the second half of 2013 show that major donors of aggregate amounts included: the Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund ($6,000, the contribution limit for the office of lieutenant governor); retired Wailuku resident Hilton Unemori ($5,000); Goodfellow Bros. Inc. Vice President Chad Goodfellow ($5,000); Wailuku resident Faye Murayama ($5,000); Wailuku attorney Tony Takitani ($3,000); Carpinteria, Calif., resident Michael Hammer ($2,500); Operating Engineers Local No. 3 ($2,000); JJJ Hawaii LLC of the Big Island ($2,000); Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters ($2,000); Hawaii Laborers PAC ($2,000); Mokulele Airlines ($2,000); Finishing Edge Curb & Sidewalk ($2,000); SSFM International project coordinator Geraldine Beppu ($2,000); Matson Navigation Co. Inc. & subsidiaries ($2,000); Wailuku attorney R. Clay Sutherland ($1,500); CCL Maui LLC ($1,500); Big Island Delights Inc. ($1,250); Wailuku Dr. Darren Egami ($1,200); Maui Oil Co. Vice President Terry McBarnet ($1,125); Maui Memorial Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Wesley Lo ($1,125) and Pukalani Superette ($1,125).

Donors contributing $1,000 included: Outrigger Enterprises Inc.; Wailuku resident Lori Munekiyo, office manager of planning consulting firm Munekiyo & Hiraga; Kihei resident and Makani Nui Managing Director Glenn Kimura; Wailuku resident and A&B Properties Vice President Grant Chun; Honolulu developer Bill Mills; Fergus & Co. LLC; Maui Oil Co. Inc./Akana Petroleum President and Chief Executive Officer Alec McBarnet; Kahului resident and Dorvin D. Leis Co. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Leis; Goodfellow Bros. Inc. Chief Executive Officer J. Stephen Goodfellow; retired Kihei resident Tamar Goodfellow; Paia resident and Hui No’eau senior development officer Caitanya Belisle-Osborne; Wailuku resident and certified public accountant Russell Yamane; Kahului resident and Walker Industry manager Frederick Wong; Kahului resident and Wailuku Elementary School teacher Janice Yoshizawa; Honolulu resident and Sato & Associates engineer Richard Sato; Alice Lee LLC; retired Pukalani resident Jeanette Lee; Honolulu resident and West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni; Maui Petroleum owner and President James Haynes III; Masons Local 630; and Local 1 PAC.

Among campaign expenditures reported in the second half of 2013, Sae Design received $11,779.03 for T-shirts, postage and printing of fundraiser tickets, bumper stickers and car magnets. Another listing showed Unemori receiving $5,000 for a campaign donation refund. (Tsutsui said that the amount was returned because Unemori had intended for his wife to make a separate $5,000 contribution at a fundraiser, but he inadvertently signed both checks.)

A couple of expenditures were donations to community groups. For example, Tsutsui spent $2,000 to support Stevenson Middle School in Honolulu in sponsoring a VEX tournament, and he reported an expense of $1,500 to the Maui High School Foundation to support the MHS Centennial Hall of Honor event.

Other expenditures were for food, beverages and entertainment for fundraisers as well as travel and lodging expenses for the candidate.

When asked about his campaign expenditures, Tsutsui said it’s proving to be far more expensive to run a statewide campaign than it was for his former Maui Senate seat. However, he said, his campaign has raised “right around the ballpark” of the amount former Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz had garnered at this point in the campaign when he sought the office.

Tsutsui, 42, was a Central Maui senator and president of the state Senate when, in late 2012, Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed him as lieutenant governor to fill the vacancy left when Schatz was chosen to fill the U.S. Senate seat left open when longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye died Dec. 17, 2012.

In May, Tsutsui announced he would seek the lieutenant governor’s office after receiving his first endorsement from the Hawaii Construction Alliance. Retired U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is serving as Tsutsui’s honorary campaign chairman.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.