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Roth, Marzo collect campaign money, endorsements

Mayoral candidate Mitch Roth cleared the $200,000 mark in campaign contributions and candidate Ikaika Marzo crept close to $100,000 according to campaign finance reports filed last week, while both candidates continue to solicit endorsements from unions, officials and also-rans.

Roth and Marzo came out on top of a crowded field of 15 candidates for mayor in the Aug. 8 primary, unseating incumbent Mayor Harry Kim, who was seeking a fourth term. Roth had 20,235 votes to Marzo’s 13,775, leaving 30,237 votes for other candidates that are up for grabs in the Nov. 3 general election. Another 774 voters left the ballot blank and 57 others voted for more than one candidate, so their votes were discarded.

Ballots are scheduled to go out Oct. 16, but as in the primary, they may go out sooner as the state continues the all-mail voting it started this year.

Kim, who came in third, said Friday he’s not endorsing either candidate as “I don’t know either of these two people personally,” although he’s met them in the course of his duties and on the campaign trail. Kim generally doesn’t endorse candidates, although he did endorse Gov. David Ige, who he said has been helpful ensuring resources flow to Hawaii County.

In the campaign finance reports filed with the state Campaign Spending Commission for the period ending Aug. 8, Roth reported a total of $202,965, of which 5.6% came from contributors giving $100 or less. That compares to Marzo’s $95,113, of which 36.3% came from the smaller contributors giving $100 or less.

Stacy Higa, who finished fifth with 5,928 votes but racked up $148,250 in contributions, said Thursday he hasn’t endorsed either candidate yet. He’s watching for upcoming debates and will make a decision after that, he said. PBS Hawaii kicked off the one-on-one campaign forum season Thursday, and the Big Island Press Club has scheduled one for Oct. 1. Other forums are in the works, organizers say.

“I met with both of them and I wished them well,” Higa said. “I told my supporters to wait and see.”

Fourth place finisher Neil Azevedo, who had 7,278 votes, endorsed Roth, Roth said. He’s also won the endorsement of Tante Urban, who finished sixth with 2,004 votes.

Urban acknowledged there was some confusion after Marzo on Aug. 15 posted a photo of himself and Urban arm-in-arm displaying shakas on his Facebook page with the comment, “Sincere mahalos to Tante Urban for talking stories with me and for his support.”

Urban said he met with both candidates and ultimately decided to endorse Roth.

All of the candidates interviewed said they weren’t asking for special favors such as Cabinet appointments — as Urban put it, “No strings attached” — in exchange for their endorsements.

Roth said he isn’t offering any. On the other hand, he is checking around for potential Cabinet members and other top aides. There’s just a month between the election and the inauguration so the new mayor will have to hit the ground running.

“Everybody has ideas,” Roth said Thursday. “I’m looking at what ideas they have will move our county forward. We are asking if they know people who would make good cabinet members.”

Marzo didn’t return a voicemail or text message request for comment by press-time Friday. But he said on his Facebook page he’s won the endorsements of seventh-place finisher Bob Fitzgerald, eighth-place finisher Mike Ruggles and 10th place finisher Wendell Kaehuaea. Together, they had amassed 3,407 votes.

Email Nancy Cook lauer at ncook-lauer@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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