The Hill: Dark horse races to watch in 2010
Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D-Hawaii) seat
Abercrombie is running for governor and leaving an open seat that Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou has been eyeing for more than a year. Djou filed for the 2010 race three years early with the idea that Abercrombie would return home to run for governor, and so far it has all panned out pretty well. Expect Democrats to crowd their mid-September primary, while Djou has time to raise money and get ready for the month-and-a-half-long general election. This district went for John Kerry by just six points in 2004, which is a more apt comparison than its native son Obama’s 70-28 win last year.
Congressional Quarterly: First-Time Candidate Plans Ahead — Way Ahead
It’s unusual but not unprecedented for a House candidate to organize a campaign in the election cycle prior to the one in which he or she actually runs. Republican Charles Djou, a Honolulu city councilman, formed a campaign committee in November 2007 to begin preparing a 2010 run in Hawaii’s 1st District, which Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie , as widely anticipated, is leaving open to run for governor.
Roll Call: GOP Has Big Mauna to Climb in Hawaii
As will undoubtedly be true for almost every contest in 2010, the economy will factor heavily into the debate in the open-seat race. The state is grappling with a revenue shortfall, exacerbated by a sputtering tourism industry that has long been a mainstay of income.
In response to the state’s financial woes, Djou has advocated curtailing expenditures by shrinking the state budget and scaling back government programs. He has been a vocal critic of Hannemann’s proposal of a 20-mile elevated rail line that would run throughout Honolulu. Hannemann has said the jobs needed to construct the rail system would stimulate the economy, while Djou has charged that the cost would outstrip the job-related benefits.
“Charles is trying to make it understood that you can’t solve all your problems by raising taxes,” said Jim Bryan, a spokesman for the Hawaii Republican Party. “It’s going to hurt people further who have already suffered from this economy.”