May 23rd, 2010
03:18 AM ET

Democratic infighting gives GOP rare victory in Hawaii

Republican Charles Djou took advantage of an intra-party fight among Democrats to snatch a House seat that Democrats had held for 20 years in Hawaii.

Djou, a Honolulu city councilman, won 67,274 votes or 39.5 percent of those cast.

The special election was for the state's 1st congressional district, which opened up after 10-term Democratic lawmaker Rep. Neil Abercrombie stepped down earlier this year to concentrate full-time on his bid for Hawaii governor.

The seat includes Honolulu and some surrounding suburbs. President Obama, who spent parts of his childhood in the district, won 70 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential election.

But there were two Democratic candidates on the ballot in this election and recent polls indicate they were splitting the vote.

The results, posted on the state's Office of Elections website late Saturday, proved likewise:

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, considered the more liberal candidate, received 52,445 votes or 30.8 percent. She had been in third place in recent polls, but she refused to step aside.

Former Rep. Ed Case, considered the more moderate candidate, garnered 47,012 votes or 27.6 percent.

The special election was a winner-take-all contest, with only a plurality needed for victory.

National Democratic Party organizations favored Case but did not formally endorse either of their party's candidates.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran ads that criticized Djou. But earlier this month, after it was clear neither candidate would drop out, the DCCC stopped spending any more money or time on the race.

Djou will have to defend the seat come November, and national Democrats are saving their firepower for that contest, when only one Democrat will be on the ballot.

"We're looking at November in Hawaii," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the DCCC chairman, told reporters Thursday. "I think you all know the situation, and it's important that people do understand the unique circumstances of a special election in Hawaii - you don't have a primary. You have, in this case, three candidates - two Democrats and one Republican. I can confidently predict that the Democrats together will get a majority of the vote. Just like the Democratic candidate in November will get a majority of the vote."

But a win for Djou in the special election was seen as a symbolic victory for the GOP.

"The fact that we have an opportunity to win in President Obama's childhood district where he received 70 percent of the vote in '08, speaks to the quality of Charles Djou's candidacy and the level of Republican voter intensity across the country," Ken Spain, NRCC communications director, said last week.

soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Carl Lewis

    Another fact....Obama is only in that position because he is black and can read a teleprompter. Isn't it funny, as soon as he got in office he is 'black', although when he was running for office he was saying he was half white and half black. What happened to the 'half white'. you don't hear anything about that because he has racist views.

    If he were a white 2 year junior Senator from Ill. he wouldn't even have been on the Primary ticket, it was because he is black. Go back and look, what has he done in his past to prove he is capable of being a President. Because he can speak well? Ya, now there is a good reason. Read his book, he mentions where he was frustrated because he couldn't get things done at a Community Service level because of politics.

    May 23, 2010 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • bigbusinessftl

      Careful, your klan hood is showing.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      Careful, bigbusinessftl, your ignorance is showing.

      Put down "Liberal Comebacks for Dummies" and learn to think for yourself and respond to issues without immediately engaging in the knee-jerk reaction of throwing out Klan references.

      History fact for everyone: The KKK was founded by Democrats.

      May 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CaseForDjou

    Actually, if Djou voters vote for Case in the Primaries then and Hanabusa falls to Case, the Old Boy Dems and unions will have no choice but to support Case.

    It would be a win/win for me in that scenario. Obviously Case has my vote. But I would prefer Djou over Hanabusa any day.

    May 23, 2010 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. john doe

    Obama's vision for the United States is a marxist-democracy. Is that an oxymoron or is he?

    May 23, 2010 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. namseer

    Sorry, but if the G.O.P. thugs consider losing to the good guys 39.5% to 58.4% a win, this may actually turn out to be a MUCH better November than expected for the Democrats! I think the nation is well on its way to Tea Bagger fatigue.

    May 23, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      Hey genius, Djou did NOT LOSE. Spin it however you want, but he WON THE ELECTION.

      Sure, he doesn't have as much of a chance in November, but the fact that a Republican is holding a traditionally Democratic seat for several months IS A VICTORY FOR THE GOP.

      Do you liberal whiners really want to play this game? How about we revisit the 1992 election, where Bill Clinton only won because of a third party candidate? Sure, you can bring up Nader in 2000...but Nader was excluded from the debates while Perot was not. Double standard there? I think so...

      May 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. frank

    I hope they get every thing they got coming to them. when are the Americon people going to learn not to trust the obstructionist GOP party. WHEN.

    May 23, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Black Coffee

    Wowza...folks, another signal that the GOP will sweep into majority in both Houses in November. Love your headline spin on this election and how you buried it. Had this been a Dem victory, it would've rivaled the post election coverage of Rand Paul in Kentucky.

    May 23, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. AndyF

    Just as long as this Repub isn't some dellusional right winger who wants to take this country back 100 years and into a very dark age for this country, which is exactly what these Tea bagger candidates are advocating. I am leaning more and more liberal the more tea bagger candidates talk, and it should be very apparent to even the most conservative that big business can't be trusted at least as much as big govt. Yet tea baggerrs defend the very criminals who fleece them, and just like many a liberal, distort reality or completely lie in order to sustain a belief and perspective. At least with govt we can vote people in and out, can't do that with Goldman-Sachs, BP, Haliburton, and I hope this Hawaiian Repub serves his state and this country well and calls it as he sees it, not as some coordinated lie, I mean strategy would want him to see it.

    May 23, 2010 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      Andy said: "Just as long as this Repub isn't some dellusional right winger who wants to take this country back 100 years and into a very dark age for this country, which is exactly what these Tea bagger candidates are advocating."

      Hey slappy, I'll make you a stop trying to speak for Tea Party participants, and I'll not speak for whiny liberal drones who get their instructions to hate from Keith Olberman and Daily Kos.

      But if you want to continue, they put up or shut up. What policies do the Tea Parties advocate that would set the country back 100 years? Any real examples, or will you simply admit you were talking out your hind-end?

      May 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mike

    WOOT another dem down and out. What you people dont see here is. alot of people on the news are looking at this talking about why they lost as a dem.. now they see that DEMs are nothing differnet from the GOP.... Give it up.
    You all blame Bush still for the problems we have right now. HA your wrong. Congress was not controlled by Bush it was Dems like Obama and his Nutzs. Learn whats going on and not have someone tell your what they think is going on like Obama does ALL THE TIME. people are finaly seeing what obama is all about. A BIG LIE!

    May 23, 2010 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. john doe

    When people with wealth, willingly, give to people without wealth, this is charity. And it is done from the dictates of conscience. When people with wealth are demanded to share their wealth with those who have no wealth, this is called welfareism. And it is done from the dictates of a marxist "leader".

    May 23, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kea

    Djou is a good man, that much I know. It's his party and the people who back him who I dislike. They will spin this over and over, while the Democrats know that come August, they'll have only 1 Dem to challenge Djou. From a strategic standpoint, the national Dems staying away from backing someone worked well. There would be more danger is pushing for Case, and if he lost the primary, Djou's team would pounce on it and use it against Hanabusa. Like a wise man once said: "You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em."

    May 23, 2010 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. MandyJ

    I am very liberal also, but sometimes one needs to step aside and take one for the whole team.

    May 23, 2010 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jake

    All you republicans............... do the math. The democrats got themost votes.Wait until Nov. and lets see who wins!

    May 23, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      Yes, "DemocratS" (plural) got more votes. Too bad the election is for a person and not a party. So your whining is moot.

      May 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    It's absolutely amazing how CNN claims to be BALANCED. This article was buried in their headlines, number 1, and if you read it with even the most remotely unbiased eye you will see that the whole article is explaining why the Dem.'s lost and give you only the LAST paragraph explaining the Rep. winner. This is why, amongst many other issues with liberals, November is going to be a slaughter and Obama has no chance in 2012 even if the 13 year-old climber, which CNN thought was a more important headline, was running against him.

    And the explanations and comments by you other libs here are really pathetic. Are you guys actually listening to the thoughts in your heads before putting your comments down?

    May 23, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    You Republicans and Democrats! All this wasted energy for the benefit of masters who don’t care about you or your loved-ones. Yes, Obama is an arrogant, brittle man with despotic tendencies, and the networks will lick his shoes clean as he struts through the sewage of Washington. And yes, Bush was not quite all there all the time, and his fiercely independent talk-show lapdogs would have done anything for a pat on the head from him. But for over 30 years your masters have run budget deficits that will cost your loved ones beyond measure. And each of your masters has either proposed or voted for these deficits. They are all equally liable. Your masters are worse than the most desperate heroin addicts. Your masters lie and mislead you. They steal from your children. They will even ruin the country they claim to love to get their power fix.

    They love that you carp and argue! It keeps you divided and enslaved. When will you hold these vampires to account? Turn on them in November for the sake of your dignity, the memory of your ancestors’ sacrifices, and for your children’s future. Either that or learn to speak Spanish and Mandarin.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. BK

    Hmm, I read all the comments about how the Democrats have no worries and will take this seat easiliy in November. That really tells me that Hawaii is in a pathetic state politically if one party is that dominate.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Eskdf

      Uh, you must've forgotten a few minor details, such as the fact that Hawaii's governor is a REPUBLICAN! Oh yeah. Duh. And how about the completely red states you love so much like Utah, Idaho, Mississippi, Wyoming, etc, etc, etc.? What do you have to say about them when you say "That really tells me that Hawaii is in a pathetic state politically if one party is that dominate"? And for the record, the word is dominant, not dominate. lmfao. Check your facts next time.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
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