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. Evil White Male American

    A comment so nice it's posted twice. Thanks "pal". I agree, it will take (at least) 16 years to clean up this mess. Bush started the grease fire and Obama is trying to put it out by throwing water on it. The possitive intentions are there but his solutions are excelerating them. Funny how it took a dem to run on several conservative platforms to win Murtha's seat, or how Kennedy's seat went to a republican or how the govrnr races turned out in several states this past year. But I guess the center right majority of this country hasn't got anyone into office yet according to you. The statist assult on this country has been exposed and is ending. I'm sorry this makes you so upset that it drives you to petty personal character assaults and snide sarcasm. It really must suck to feel like your political movement is backed into a corner.

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

    GW's mess???? You may want to go back and check who was running congress for the last 2.5 years of Bush's term.
    It always surprises me how stupid Dem's are when they want to point the finger at Bush – but it was the Dem's in power. So silly!!!

    May 23, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • lsdkd848

      YES, GW's mess. The huge problems Obama inherited started well BEFORE the Dems took control in JANUARY 2007. But it's just like a Republican to exaggerate something like that – saying 2.5 years instead of 2 years.

      May 23, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      lsdkd848, I know facts can be annoying if they contradict what you already believe. But if you can find facts to support your ideals, they can be a wonderful thing. So, what facts would you like to present to bolster your claim that Democrats inherited a bad economy?

      I have facts to the contrary. Are you brave enough to look at them?

      Some message boards don't allow posting of websites, so I made some tinyurl's for you....if you're familiar with how tinyurl works, just put the following prefixes after the .com/


      May 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jonathan

    Why can't we all just get along? This forum is filled with more personal attacks and mean rhetoric than it is thoughful ideas and camaraderie. WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM! Stop pushing each other further away or else there won't be a country left for all of you extremists to so forcefully push your ideas on each other.

    There used to be an amount of pride in being an AMERICAN. This is gone now, replaced with this newfound hatred for people.

    Democrats: Republicans arent that crazy. They are just normal people like you who have slightly different ideas on how to run our country.

    Republicans: Democrats aren't that crazy. They are just normal people like you who have slightly different ideas on how to run our country.

    It's amazing how when a dem and a Rep meet on the street and do not discuss politics the two can get along and coexist and collaborate good, compromised ideas, but the instance either one of them finds out about each others politics all goes down the tube. Personal attacks in politics do not lead our country anywhere but one place: A dead end.

    So, please, if you believe in what I say, next time you think about throwing a personal attack or calling someone a name,try and remind yourself that you are not doing any more good for the country than the person you are attacking.

    May 23, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tom Weisman

    This is a wake-up call for all Democrats. Democrats, you are still ignoring the will of the American people. American people voted for you in the last election for a change. American want good paying jobs with benefits they deserve. Democrats, you have done nothing to stop the stupendous 'outsourcing' of hard-working American jobs to cheap-labor, no-quality China and India. If this stupendous 'outsourcing' is not stopped then come November you will find that American people sent you packing.

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

    Amazing how you buried this story. I had to go to "Politics" and then it was not even a headline. It was buried under "Top Political Stories." But, hey, I know "Mexican Authorities Can't Find TV Producer" immediately after I hit your site and "Papers Reveal Kagan's Lighter Side" immediately upon hitting the "Politics" category on your site. Have you ever considered playing the theme music for "Entertainment Tonight" instead of your current CNN intro?

    May 23, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Evil White Male American

    Great point PB. It's funny how there is such a disconnect in the public and media reporting when it comes to blaming or praising congress until recently. The economy soared and the budget was balanced when republicans took control of congress under Clinton, and the economy fell apart after the dems took control of congress under Bush.

    May 23, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    What excuses is CNN going to use for Obama in November?

    May 23, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • ynot4tony2

      They will use the usual excuse..."racism".

      May 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Evil White Male American

    That's an easy one Mark. They will blame it on racism.

    May 23, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Blue Leader

    Blue Leader standing by...

    May 23, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Gold Leader

    Gold Leader standing by....

    May 23, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Good Lt

    Interesting that nearly EVERY comment here pointing out that yes, Virginia, Democrats are going to take a large loss this November despite the results of this particular election is accompanied by one similarly phrased, name-calling, denial-laden attack from the same FlufflingtonPost denizen who changes its handle each comment to give the appearance of a "mass resistance." That's what's called ASTROTURFING, friends. And the tactics the 101st O-bot keyboard commandos are engaged in won't change their fate in November. They're done. America's had enough "hope and change." America wants jobs, fiscal responsibility, government restraint and tax relief. The Democrats are providing none of these. The Democrats are providing stagnation, debt, unemployment, incompetence, corruption, arrogance and hate. Enough is enough.

    May 23, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Wyatt

    This is very similar to what happened in the NY district, but reversed. In that election, a Democrat won when there were two candidates from the other side of the isle. So I guess it's kind of a wash in that sense.

    May 23, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sherry

    I'm a right-leaning moderate who votes for Republicans about 70% of the time. But I'm frustrated to see so many Republicans on here falsely claiming that Independents, and voters in general, are fed up with Democrats as, they claim, is evidenced by so many Republican wins in special elections since Obama took office. Well, the fact of the matter is that there have been seven Congressional special elections and the Democrats have won six of them. And three of them, all won by Democrats, were in districts that leaned Republican. This Hawaii race was the first that the Republicans have won. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I know all too well that it was only because there happened to be two popular Democrats running against the one Republican. I am under no delusions that the Republican will hold onto that congressional seat. The reason I'm posting this is because, although I prefer Republicans ordinarily, I am not supportive of Republican supporters who distort the truth. People can only have meaningful political discussions if everyone involved are honest with information.

    May 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. We make politics suck.

    The swing of political control in this country has always, and will always, swing back and forth, left and right. Unfortunately, the extent to which how far the pendulum has been swinging these past few cycles has been extreme. It has gone from extreme right to extreme left and is now entering another period of correction. This is being fed from political extremists on both sides. Everyone from Olbermann to Beck and Maddow to Hannity are fueling the fires of political intolerence. What ever happened to "I disagree with what you said, but i will defend to the death your right to say it." ?

    May 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Odisyd

      So, let's see... the swing will always swing and "the extent to which how far..."... uh, ok. Makes total sense. Sorry, but DC has never been EXTREME left OR right. There are always going to be extremists in Washington, but politics overall will never be extreme. The system won't allow it. . It will just lean one way or the other. Sometimes "leanier" than other times.

      May 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ArriusTell

    "With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do everything." Napoleon Bonaparte

    -+- -+-

    May 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
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