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Sunday, May 23, 2010
69% of voters reject machine candidate Hanabusa: Djou heads for Congress with bright prospects for November reelection
By Andrew Walden @ 1:11 PM :: 9887 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

by Andrew Walden 

It’s Hawaii Republican Congressman Charles Djou now—and Hawaii Democrats can barely contain their bitterness.

The urban Honolulu seat vacated by the resignation of Democrat Neil Abercrombie—who quit to run for Governor—has not elected a Republican to Congress since Rep Pat Saiki (R-HI) quit to run for Senate in 1990.  But in a three-way race, Honolulu voters last night gave Republican County Councilman Charles Djou an 8.7% margin of victory with 171,417 votes cast--a 54% turnout.

RESULTS

  • (R) DJOU, Charles 67,610 39.4%
  • (D) HANABUSA, Colleen 52,802 30.8%
  • (D) CASE, Ed 47,391 27.6%

Djou will fill the remaining seven months of Abercrombie’s term. 

An election for a full Congressional term will be held November 2.  In that race, Djou’s reelection campaign will face off against the winner of a September 18 Democrat Primary in which both Case and Hanabusa have announced—and last night reconfirmed--their candidacy. 

Between Djou and Case, 69% of the vote went to candidates styling themselves as business and taxpayer friendly opponents of the Inouye machine.  Both Djou and Case openly oppose the current version of the Akaka Bill.  Only 30.8% voted for the openly tax and spend Hanabusa with her union and reputed underworld ties.  Hanabusa began her State Senate career working in 1998 with Larry Mehau to oust Cayetano’s AG Margery Bronster on behalf of the corrupt Broken Trust trustees of Bishop Estate making her a favorite of the old-boys and launching her rise to the State Senate Presidency.

Democrat strategists are still counting on Case and Hanabusa voters to unite behind the Democrat nominee after the September primary.  But many local observers doubt that theory.  Instead they point to the outcome of the 1986 First District Congressional election (see below) in which Republican Pat Saiki swept into office after a bruising Democratic Primary fight between Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann.  The rivalry between Obama-backer Ed Case and the Clinton-oriented Inouye faction backing Colleen Hanabusa is every bit as intense as 1986—and the effect is magnified by the fact that Abercrombie and Hannemann will be facing off in the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary race this September. 

Interestingly, the second-place finisher was not Ed Case—as had been predicted by every public poll in months, but rather Colleen Hanabusa, whose chances had been discounted by the Case campaign, its allies in Obama’s National Democratic organization, and the Star-Bulletin and Advertiser--now partly owned by Ed Case’s uncle Dan H. Case.  Case received only 27.6% of the vote while Hanabusa received 30.8%.

“Whatever” is the response from both Abercrombie and Ed Case.  Case said:

"This was not our night. I congratulate Charles Djou… the people of this district, for whatever reason, have selected him to serve the next seven months.  I'm going to offer whatever support I can, for the job that he is undertaking, a very serious and significant job."

Abercrombie issued a statement arguing:

"I congratulate Mr. Djou. Serving in the United States House of Representatives, for whatever period of time, is a great honor and an even greater responsibility.”

Hanabusa did not congratulate Djou.  In her “concession speech” she instead said only: “As tonight’s election results have shown, Charles Djou will serve the remainder of the First Congressional Seat vacated by Neil Abercrombie.”

Hanabusa apparently believes she owns 60% of the voters.  The Honolulu Advertiser reports:

As for losing the seat to Republicans, Hanabusa said "if you're going to lose a seat, it's for a very short period of time. Not to take anything away from Charles, but he's going to have to come back and fight very hard for this seat.

"Let's not forget, 60 percent of the vote is still Democrat and it's going to be a Democrat facing off against a Republican in November."

Senator Dan Inouye said:

"I wish to congratulate Congressman Djou on his victory and will welcome him to Washington.  I would also like to congratulate Colleen on her strong showing and look forward to supporting her as she prepares for the September primary. I commend her for working hard and hanging tough and refusing to believe the national polls because we know our Hawaii Democrats best. This race is not over until November….”

Djou responded to this kind of reasoning in a May 17 statement:

“Contrary to the opinion of the old guard, this congressional seat is not owned by the Democrat Party. It isn't owned by any union or special interest group. This seat is owned by the people. At its core, this belief separates me from my opponents.”

Even Dan Boylan, whose son Peter is Dan Inouye’s press spokesperson, doubts Hanabusa’s claim.  The Advertiser reports: 

Dan Boylan, a University of Hawai'i-West O'ahu history professor and political analyst, said he does not know if unity is possible given the personalities involved.

"It's going to be tough. I think it's going to be much tougher than they realize," he said. "It seems to me that there is no love lost, obviously, between Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa."

Hawaii's First Congressional District voted 72% for Barack Obama in 2008.  It is the site of his birth and was Obama’s home for about eight years from when he returned from Indonesia until he graduated Punahou and left to go to Occidental College in Los Angeles.  In the February, 2008 Hawaii Democratic caucuses Hanabusa, Inouye, and the Hawaii Government Employees Association campaigned for Clinton.   They lost 3-1. 

Clinton vs Obama, Hanabusa vs Case, Akaka vs Case, and Hannemann vs Abercrombie all represent the same fundamental split among Hawaii Democrats.  Old-boy Democrats derived from the Stalinist ILWU face off against Social Democrats whose origins lie in 1960s campus protest at UH Manoa.  The split first emerged with Lt Gov. Tom Gill’s 1970 challenge to the reelection of Gov. Jack Burns and has existed continuously ever since. 

---30---

 

RESULTS (first read):

  • (R) DJOU, Charles 67,274 39.5%
  • (D) HANABUSA, Colleen 52,445 30.8%
  • (D) CASE, Ed 47,012 27.6%

RESULTS (second read): 

  • (R) DJOU, Charles 67,610 39.4%
  • (D) HANABUSA, Colleen 52,802 30.8%
  • (D) CASE, Ed 47,391 27.6%

LINK: Special Election 2010 precinct Results  

 

September 20, 1986 special election results:

  • 29.88% N Abercrombie (D)
  • 29.20% P Saiki (R)
  • 28.30% M Hannemann (D)

September 20, 1986 Democrat primary:

  • 40.22% M Hannemann (D)
  • 39.21% N Abercrombie (D)

November 4, 1986 election results:

  • 59.20% P Saiki (R)
  • 37.45% M Hannemann (D)
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