If you’re looking for a sign that Republicans’ message of fiscal responsibility and government accountability will win this November and Democrats will struggle to defend their reckless agenda, look no further than Obama's home district in Hawaii. In the very-blue first district, a rising-star Republican candidate is leading two Democrats in a peculiar and enthralling three-way, vote-by-mail special election to fill the vacancy left by Congressman Neil Abercrombie. Often referred to as the next Scott Brown, Republican Charles Djou’s appeal extends beyond the island into the mainland as he’s garnered possibly the most national attention. Fiscal conservative Djou is the only candidate who lives in Hawaii’s First Congressional District and is facing two Democrats – a former Congressman from the second district Ed Case and State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.
Hawaii’s first district includes the capitol city of Honolulu. It was represented by Republican Congresswoman Pat Saiki from 1987 to 1991. In 2008, President Obama won the district with 70% of the vote. However, in 2004, President Bush received 47%, underscoring the competitive nature of the seat and the opportunity for a Republican upset in the special election.
Currently a Honolulu City Councilman, Djou previously served in the Hawaii State Legislature as a Representative and Minority Floor Leader. He is an Army Reservist, where he holds the rank of Captain. Djou earned a business degree from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a law degree from the University of Southern California. Throughout his decade of service to Hawaii, Charles has been a strong advocate for creating jobs, fiscal responsibility and disciplined governance that prioritizes the long-term interests of the people of Hawaii.
National Democrats have unsuccessfully pooled their support behind Democrat Ed Case who briefly represented Hawaii’s Second Congressional District from 2002-2006 before cutting his career short in a failed bid to unseat long-serving U.S. Senator Akaka in a primary. Case has placed himself at odds with much of the Democrat establishment in Hawaii as he has often jumped from race to race, even to run against senior Members of his own party. While in Congress, Case repeatedly voted for higher taxes and against the best interests of Hawaii middle-class families. Now, Case is following the politically-convenient winds again in an attempt to run in a district that he has never lived in.
Case’s move to run in the special election is not rubbing the Hawaii Democratic establishment well. There is a rift between Case and his Washington Democrats and Hawaii Democrats and their candidate in this race, long-time labor activist and Democrat State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. After a failed attempt to run for Congress in the second district, Hanabusa is giving Hawaii’s first district a try. Throughout her career Hanabusa has advocated for big-government and tax-hiking policies. Her liberal beliefs have earned her the support of labor unions, Emily’s List and other left-wing interest groups.
Perhaps the biggest news in the HI-01 race in recent days is that the DCCC is pulling out of the race – announcing that they “will not be investing additional resources”. This is yet another indicator that the momentum is behind Djou and Democrats are running scared.
The people of Hawaii are tired of an out-of-touch Democrat majority that continues to push their agenda that borrows too much, spends too much and taxes too much at their expense. Given the turbulent political environment for Democrats, it appears Hawaii families are looking for change. The stars could not have aligned better for charismatic Charles Djou who is benefiting from a constituency that is fed-up with the reckless tax-and-spend agenda and the chaos and disarray of the Democrat party. Despite this historically blue district’s record of electing Democrats, a recent Honolulu Advertiser poll shows Republican candidate Charles Djou in the lead among the liberal Hanabusa and the fickle, political opportunist Case.