PUNA, Hawaii: District 4 County Council hopeful James Weatherford has gathered the requisite signatures and donations, enabling him to receive full public funding in the amount of $16,300 for the primary election.
From the Weatherford campaign:
“This is something important for me that I always share with the people I talk with,” said Weatherford. “The combination of public funding and my non-partisan status makes me independent — from special interest campaign contributors and from political parties. An independent voice is something that Puna needs and has not had for a long time.”
One of the main benefits of public election funding is that candidates can focus on the concerns of voters in the district. Dubbed “the reform that makes all reforms possible” by proponents like Voter-Owned Hawai’i, who successfully lobbied the legislature to enact the program in 2009, the public funding pilot for Hawai’i County Council is in its second of three election cycles. With his qualification for the program, Weatherford’s campaign will be fully-funded for the primary August 11th from the Hawai’i Election Campaign Fund. Revenue for the special fund comes from the voluntary contributions of state income tax payers and the fines paid by violators of campaign spending law.
As a publicly-funded candidate, Weatherford says he “will not accept any private campaign dollars from special interests based on-Island, in Honolulu or beyond.”
Weatherford’s opponent, one-term incumbent Fred Blas, is not using public funding. Typical privately financed campaigns rely on contributions from individuals, businesses and political action committees, either from within or outside the islands, who may each give up to $2000.00 a piece total, as permitted by law, for the the primary and general elections.
Along with Blas, Weatherford will be joining a field of at least three others for the council seat, according to the most recent state elections materials. They are John Hoffman of Pahoa, Greggor Ilagan of Keaau, and Ike Payne of Pahoa. Nomination papers are due to be filed by Tuesday, June 5th. The primary election will be decided August 11, 2012.