Djou heading to D.C.

By Derrick DePledge
Honolulu Advertiser Government Writer

Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou punctured the Democrats’ hold on the state’s congressional delegation last night, winning a special election for Congress and becoming the first Republican in two decades to represent the Islands in Washington, D.C.

Djou earned 39.4 percent of the vote in the winner-take-all special election in urban Honolulu’s 1st Congressional District and took advantage of a bitter split among Democrats between state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former congressman Ed Case.

Hanabusa, who had been trailing in third in most public and private polls, finished second with 30.8 percent, positioning herself well for the September primary.

Case took 27.6 percent and will have to climb back against a wall of opposition from establishment Demo-crats and labor unions who will help Hanabusa in the primary.

The winner of the primary will take on Djou again in the November general election, when Djou will need to appeal to more independents and moderate Democrats if he is to stay in office.

“I think we sent a clear message to Washington, D.C., that we are spending too much money and that we need more fiscal responsibility, and I look forward to going to Washington, D.C., and Congress to do exactly that,” Djou said outside the state GOP’s headquarters.

Djou will fill out the remaining months of former congressman Neil Abercrombie’s term, which expires in January 2011. Djou will have to run in the Republican primary in September, but is expected to win easily.

Djou becomes the third Republican — after former U.S. Rep. Pat Saiki and the late U.S. Sen. Hiram Fong — to represent Hawai’i in Washington since statehood.

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