Unlike Florida-19, which was won by President Obama by over thirty points in 2008, Hawaii-1 looks to be a district where voter dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party could lead to a Republican pick-up. While still quite blue (D+15 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index), Hawaii’s 1st congressional district has gone to the GOP in the last four governor’s races.
Further, the special election is set up in winner-take-all format, meaning that there are no primaries. With two, maybe three Democrats in the race, Djou thinks that Hawaii-1 could be the inverse of one closely-followed special election in upstate New York: “I think that my special election could essentially be the inverse of the New York-23 election, with the Democrats splitting the vote.”
Djou, a Honolulu City Councilman and a former Minority Floor Leader in the State House, understands that being labeled a Republican can be a liability in his district, so he has run a campaign based on the theme of independence: “I don’t covet the national Republican party’s label or being anointed by them,” he tells FrumForum. “I welcome their support, [but] I’ve built my career… on being an independent voice for my constituents.”
This certainly could be an interesting race.