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. john sloterbeek

    I wondered where this story was on cnn. Thank you for confirming that I still need to follow fox in order to make sure I don't miss out on current information. As usual, it will probably be front page news later today or tomorrow on cnn. There is something to be said for consistency.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Pern

      This IS CNN, moron. LMAO.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      Pern, before you call someone else a moron, you should do a brain check yourself first. It would have saved some embarrassment. NOWHERE did John imply he wasn't at a CNN website. The point being that this newsworthy item is covered on a CNN blog, for crying out loud. A freakin' BLOG!

      John made an excellent point, and you made yourself look foolish by highlighting your own lack of reading comprehension. Keep up the good work, guys.

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

    Yes, the Democrats got the most votes but they split the votes between a very left progressive and a moderate. So those of you on the leftt who think this will be a romp in November will have to recalulate. Many of the votes for the moderate could swing in the republicans favor and make this race much closer than you think.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • keridiy

      Keep dreaming........hahahaha... even Republicans are are admitting this morning that they have little to no chance of winning the seat in November. You poor, pathetic, delusional Republicans.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. cullenpest

    I heard something about this story, but took some time to find it on CNN web page.
    Finally found it WAY down between a sports story and a video about a lady's breast and a spider
    bite. And this is supposed to be an independent news organization? You'd think this was an
    election for a garbage superintendent.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Oddide

      Interesting, I found it right on the home page among all the big headlines. And it's been there all morning. Nice try, though.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      Funny...I'm at CNN's main page now and I can find nothing mentioning Djou and Hawaii.

      Nice try, though.

      May 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nevadaracer

    So Clinton winning the presidency twice with a plurality of the popular vote was a "mandate" in support of him and his party...

    But a Republican wins by a plurality and it is no big deal just wait until the next election?

    LOL...Dems wonder why they have no credibility with independents and people who think...

    May 23, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Akddira

      OK, we'll pat you on the head and tell you that Djou has a "mandate" if that'll make you feel better. Do you want a lollipop, too? Just tell him not to let the door hit him in the butt when he loses the November election. Or are you living in a dream world and think that he actually has a chance of winning against ONE democrat? The Dems are in charge of ALL of Washington... deal with it. Because that's the way it's going to be for many years to come. But if you want to believe all this hype and it'll make you feel better, go for it. And about you saying the Dems have "no credibility with independents" that's interesting because the results I saw in the race to fill John Murtha's seat had the independents going big for the DEMOCRAT, who won that race by a big margin. The seat that all the Republicans were bragging about how they would definitely win it and how it was the one seat that would indicate what would happen overall in November. Too funny!!!

      May 23, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. David

    The Dems (and I'm a Dem) are looking increasingly stupid as the weeks go forward.
    Even Sarah Palin, God forbid, is beginning to look smart compared to them. Embarrassing.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • KDF

      Yeah, you're a democrat. Just like Sarah Palin is well=versed in current events. Nice try with the fake Palin reference. Everyone knows you're a republican.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. dax

    The fact – It has been proven that no community organizer can run a country – Obama is a total failure.

    Oh yea blame it on Bush...

    Here are the facts:

    Funny, no one is mentioning that Carter started the Sub Prime Loan Program, Clinton, tweaked it allowing anyone with a pulse to get a home loan, while ACORN enforced it.

    During GW term many times regulations was attempted only to be quashed by the Dembicels saying how great a job the current administration was doing at the helm of Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae.

    Go back and do your research folks, check out the You Tube videos of the Dembicels defending the administration of Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae.

    Don’t leave out the fact that Clinton was the reason the bubble burst, just before leaving office he went after Microsoft, followed with SEC changes which eliminated small IPO’s, after which capital investors pulled money back and the Tech Bubble burst, Dropping the Tech sector by 30% that initial month.

    Then right after GW came in we had 911, why did Clinton not capture Osama when he was offered up by Syria, oh he was too busy hiding cigars.

    One other thing, what happened to the transparency that was promised us, did anyone see any CSPAN coverage of Boama, were the earmarks removed like promised, no back room deals were cut so the Dembicels could save BO from looking like a fool, never mind that the majority of Americans were against it or that the majority of Congress really had no clue what was in it.

    Did the Stupidus Bill create millions of jobs and keep unemployment below 8%…

    Proof is in the pudding, or the inability of a community organizer to run a company much less a country.

    One Bad A#$ Mistake America, and now we have a new opportunity to take back this country before BO destroys it and contiues his path to the Socialist States of America.

    Here are more facts.

    What is going to happen to unemployment once the tax cuts end for small business...More lay offs. Do you really think a business owner is going to eat it, no it will be passed on.

    What are employees and employers going to do in October when it is time to make changes for group insurance...The reality of Obama care will hit...wait and see...

    With Obama care what incentive is there for a new college student to become a specialty type of doctor...How are all the vacancies by the current departing medical professionals going to be replaced...From India...From China...but not from US..

    What about the Nuclear treaty, Russia can pull out at any time, but Obama stated that we are not going to build any new or more modern nukes while every other country will. Our military can just clean out the cob webs and hope our aging missiles will fire.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Xcsei

      Wow dax, have you ever heard of the word edit. NO ONE is going to read all that. Calm down and get to the point.

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

      I read it all actually, and he commented and elaborated on his point multiple times. If you checked your ADD and learned to read like an adult you would be able to see that.

      May 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. clr

    I notice that the GOP winner is young, and the people that voted for him seem to be the young ones in Hawaii. And that the OLD party is the Dems, with old folks – and ironically – the WHITE folks. Boy – what a turn-around in that State compared to the conus. I think for the Dems – the question with either of their Dem candidates should be "do I really want to vote for either of these egos – when neither could agree to step down for the betterment of the party?" It seems to me that the Dems would be better served if they pulled a fresh-face into the Nov election, than to go with either of these losers.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      Well, either one of those "losers" trounce Djou in the November election. So if that will make the democrat a loser, what will it make Djou?

      May 23, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    The mainland media will give very little attention to this significant GOP victory since it runs contrary to their narrative.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      Significant??? You must be a comedian. What's significant about winning a seat he'll only get to hold for a few months after everyone in the country knew he'd win it because there were two well known democrats running against him? One little problem he'll have in November... he'll be running against ONE democrat. And that one democrat, no matter who it is, will beat him by a wide margin. Democrats AND Republicans are saying that, but it doesn't take a genius to know Djou will be out of a job at the end of the year.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. spanglish

    Excellent maybe the congress will be well balance , and the citizens USA, will be better represented and maybe they investigate the Freddy mac and Fannie mac mostly based in California the State responsible for the burst of the bubble.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. oyelaaaa

    CNN: Trying hard to justify a Dem"s defeat eh? CNN is the media arm of the Democratic Party!

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

      I'm a Republican and I think they're reporting it accurately. It tells exactly what happened. Anyone who's being real about what happened knows that if ONE democrat had run, Djou would have lost big. That's what happens when you have three big names running and two are from the same party. The result was no surprise to anyone, just like it will be no surprise when Djou loses in the general election.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. stormerF2

    Don't ya just love it when the Demo's eat their own?

    May 23, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. Evil White Male American

    Oh you poor poor libs. keep self destructing. The future of America depends on it. Now if we could just get Palin to step down from her self appointed "leadership" role into a support role and for certain libertarians to understand the possitives of some federal regulation,(i.e. anti-discrimination laws placed on private business), we in the "no longer silent majority" will do a lot better this November. And no, I don't think conservatives should be the party of "no" until than... we should be the party of "HELL NO!"

    May 23, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • jds

      How stupid can you be? The last time I checked, zero of your "silent majority" have been elected to office so far. And last I checked, the Dems still have big control in the House and Senate. Don't count your chickens yet pal because you may end up looking like a fool in November. I'm going to enjoy Obama's remaining 6 1/2 years as president. And then Hillary's eight should be enjoyable, also. Sorry that will upset you, but it's going to take the Dems AT LEAST 16 years to clean up GW Bush's mess..

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

      jds, here's why Obama will not get a second term and Democrats will lose and lose big in November...

      During Republican control (of Congress and the White House) our country suffered from both the bubble burst and 9-11. In spite of these major economic setbacks, unemployment only rose 2%, peaking in 2003. After that, the unemployment rate started to shrink back to the levels they were when Bush was elected (around 4.3%). While the deficit increased, it began to decrease at this time.

      By 2006, unemployment remains steady at just over 4% and the deficit continues to decrease. Then in January of 2007, Democrats take control over both branches of Congress (and therefore all legislation and spending, INCLUDING THE BAILOUT BILL you liberal freaks try to pin on Bush). What happened in 2007? Unemployment began to skyrocket. Once Obama gets elected, unemployment continues to rise to the 10% level (and has stayed there), and the deficit Bush ran up in eight years is TRIPLED BY OBAMA IN A SINGLE YEAR.

      Enough of the partisan hatred. Look at the facts. Unemployment under Republicans in recent times never ran above 6% or so, and a recovery was in full effect. Democrats took the economy in recovery and send it spiraling into the toilet.

      THAT is why sensible people won't re-elected Democrats and fulfill your putrid little fantasy.

      May 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amberkist

    What do you mean by RARE victory. C'mon CNN you are covering up for Obama's failures. The republicans are winning left and right and you report this as a rare victory. Wake up!! People aren't as stupid as you think, the sleeping giant has awaken. I hope the next failure will be CNN and other liberal mind dumb down media goes down the toliet as well.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • D5b

      Do you really need us to define the word "rare" to you? You obviously don't know what you're talking about. The Republicans have lost 3 out of the 4 special elections. So the Djou win is what you call RARE. But he didn't win it so much as the Dems handed it to him. But only temporarily.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • bigbusinessftl

      Not to mention, do you not have the attention span to read to the end of the sentence? It says RARE VICTORY IN HAWAII.

      May 23, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      D5b, nice spin you have there. Have Democrats INCREASED their majority from the 2008 elections? No. Have Republicans reduced their majority? Yes.

      That's the big score, slappy. Not a few Democrats predictably holding safe seats held by a fellow Democrat.

      I also notice you ignored the governor elections recently, which have favored Republicans as well. What...facts that support your narrative just get ignored?

      May 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jds

    How stupid can you be? The last time I checked, zero of your "silent majority" have been elected to office so far. And last I checked, the Dems still have big control in the House and Senate. Don't count your chickens yet pal because you may end up looking like a fool in November. I'm going to enjoy Obama's remaining 6 1/2 years as president. And then Hillary's eight should be enjoyable, also. Sorry that will upset you, but it's going to take the Dems AT LEAST 16 years to clean up GW Bush's mess.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      "At least 16 years to clean up Bush's mess..."

      This is why Democrats will lose big in 2010 and 2012. "Bush's mess" was a 4.3% unemployment rate (the media would praise Clinton for the same figures, but criticize Bush...go figure) and holding steady, a deficit in decline, and a stock market on the rise. These are facts.

      Since Democrats took the Senate, the House, and the White House from Republicans, unemployment went from 4.3% to over 10% and hovered there. The deficit tripled. The stock market went into decline.

      How willfully ignorant do you have to be if you keep convincing yourself that Obama and the Democrat congress are "cleaning up" the "mess" left by Bush?

      May 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PB

    I guess Obama must have endorsed the two Dem's from Hawaii – hahahahah!!!!

    May 23, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
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