GOP Senate victory boosts hope for Djou's campaign


POSTED: Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Republican Party's upset victory for the U.S. Senate seat in the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts—the seat once held by Ted Kennedy—gave Hawaii Republicans renewed hope at filling the next vacancy coming up in Hawaii's 1st Congressional District.

“;The results in Massachusetts certainly put wind in our sails for this upcoming special election,”; said Charles Djou, the lone Republican in the race to fill the seat being vacated by veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who is resigning Feb. 28 to run for governor.

Locally and nationally, the GOP is targeting Abercrombie's seat, with Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts giving the party a boost as it tries to get a Republican elected to federal office in Hawaii for the first time in two decades.

;[Preview]  Sen. Brown's impact on Hawaii congressional race

KITV4's Keoki Kerr shows us the impact Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts may have on the Hawaii congressional race.

Watch ]


Djou, a Honolulu city councilman, faces Democrats Ed Case, who served in Congress from 2002 until 2006, and Colleen Hanabusa, the state Senate president.

“;There is no doubt that Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case woke up in fear today as they realize that, on Election Day, they will pay the price for supporting the Obama-Pelosi big-government, tax-and-spend agenda,”; Joanna Burgos, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in an e-mailed statement.

National media also weighed in, with one calling Djou “;the next potential Scott Brown.”;

“;Djou ... was quick to recognize the Massachusetts-on-the-Pacific scenario and shot out a statement congratulating Brown while at the same time outlining the parallels to his own long shot race,”; Politico blogger Charles Mahtesian wrote yesterday.

For his part, Djou said he would take a cue from Brown's campaign and work to get his message out touting fiscal responsibility, smaller government and killing the current health care reform measure that he says will not work.

“;It's a message that clearly resonates with the American people in Massachusetts and, I believe, will resonate with the people of Hawaii,”; Djou said.

His Democratic rivals dismissed the notion that Brown's victory would translate into similar GOP success in Hawaii.

“;My campaign has always been about a different approach to politics in Washington—one that is less about politics and more about solving problems,”; Case said.

“;I think the voters here tend to really get to know their candidates and vote a lot more on whether or not they feel comfortable,”; Hanabusa said. “;I'm not sure its necessarily on their party lines.”;

Abercrombie's resignation triggers a winner-take-all special election open to all candidates regardless of party affiliation.