Hawaii union set spending record on political campaign that didn’t work

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – New primary election spending reports show the Carpenter’s Union PAC broke all records trying to keep Sylvia Luke from the lieutenant governor’s office, including ads many called a smear.

And now that Luke is on the Democratic ticket with gubernatorial candidate Josh Green, she’s making it clear she wants nothing to do with the Super PAC.

“I will adamantly denounced it, even if it’s a supportive ad and I will call them on it too,” Luke said.

“Really, their leadership, resorted to a smear campaign to try to basically buy an office.”

State Campaign Spending Commission numbers show that Be Change Now spent $1.2 million opposing Luke.

They also say that the union PAC spent $2.9 million to support her opponent, former City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson.

In all, Be Change Now spent $4.1 million dollars in the lieutenant governor’s primary — which is the most ever by a PAC for a single race.

Political experts say the ads backfired with some voters — given Luke’s comfortable victory.

They also say that there could be some backlash from the union’s membership.

“The thing I think the Carpenters are struggling with now, is that they are, in some ways, kind of the boogeyman of local politics,” said Colin Moore, a University of Hawaii political science professor.

“I mean, voters know them, they know their brand, they know that they’ve run negative advertisements in the past.”

Hawaii News Now asked Be Change Now for a response, but they declined.

“I think the leadership has now a lot of answering to do to its membership, whether this is the best use of the money to take on LG candidate,” added Luke.

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