HONOLULU – Republicans scored a midterm election victory Saturday when Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou won a Democratic-held House seat in Hawaii in the district where President Barack Obama grew up.
Djou’s victory was a blow to Obama and other Democrats, who could not rally around a candidate and find a way to win a congressional race that should have been a cakewalk. The seat had been held by a Democrat for nearly 20 years and is located in the district where Obama was born and spent most of his childhood.
Djou received 67,274 votes, or 39.5 percent. He was trailed by state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat who received 52,445 votes, or 30.8 percent. The other leading Democrat, former U.S. Rep. Ed Case, received 47,012 votes, or 27.6 percent.
Republicans see the victory as a powerful statement about their momentum heading into November.
“Charles’ victory is evidence his conservative message of lowering the tax burden, job creation and government accountability knows no party lines,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
But Democrats believe the success in Hawaii will be short-lived. Djou will only serve through the remainder of 2010, and another election will be held in November for the next term. Democrats are confident they can topple Djou in November because the vote won’t be split among several candidates, as it was Saturday.
Democrats bickered over whether Case or Hanabusa was the strongest candidate for their party, and the situation got so bad that Obama and national party leaders weren’t able to endorse one contender.