Honolulu: Republicans won a Democratic-held
congressional seat in Hawaii in the district where President
Barack Obama grew up - the latest triumph for the party as it
looks to take back control of Congress in the November
But Democrats believe the success in Hawaii will be
short-lived. The Republican winner 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 win the seat back in
November because their vote won`t be split among several
candidates, as it was in the special election.
Still, Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou`s victory
yesterday was a blow to Obama and other Democrats who could
not rally around a single candidate and find a way to win a
congressional race that should have been easy. 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
"This is a momentous day. We have sent a message to the
United States Congress. We have sent a message to the national
Democrats. We have sent a message to the machine," Djou said.
"The congressional seat is not owned by one political
party. This congressional seat is owned by the people."
Djou received 67,610 votes, or 39.4 per cent. He was
trailed by state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat
who received 52,802 votes, or 30.8 per cent. The other leading
Democrat, former US Representative Ed Case, received 47,391
votes, or 27.6 per cent.
Republicans see the victory as a powerful statement about
their momentum heading into November. They already sent a
Republican to the US Senate to replace the late Senator Edward
M Kennedy of Massachusetts - a state that was once thought to
be the most hostile of territories for the party.
Now Republicans can say they won a congressional seat in the
former backyard of the president and in a state that gave
Obama 72 percent of the vote two years ago.
"Charles` victory is evidence his conservative message of
lowering the tax burden, job creation and government
accountability knows no party lines. It is a message Americans
want to hear from candidates across the country," said
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman
Chris Van Hollen said the fact that the Democratic candidates
together received over 50 per cent of the vote, "demonstrates
that Democratic prospects are very good in November."
"This district is still, as stated, a Democratic
district," Hanabusa said, pointing to the combined Democratic
vote of 58 per cent.