Republicans envision coup with Djou


POSTED: Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buoyed by Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts to claim Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, the national Republican Party is thinking about a Hawaii coup: a GOP member of Congress from the 50th state.

City Councilman Charles Djou is set to inherit the momentum of Brown's unexpected victory in a routinely Democratic state.

The national GOP's Republican National Committee opened a four-day convention at the Hilton Hawaiian Village yesterday with a new sense of confidence.

“;The issues we saw work in Massachusetts would probably work in Hawaii as well,”; said Gentry Collins, the RNC political director. “;The voters around the country are upset with the president and his lack of focus on creating jobs and helping lead the economy.”;

As a Republican candidate, Djou should do well, predicted Collins, a veteran of the John McCain and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns.

“;Djou is a fantastic candidate and he is running a great campaign. We expect to be competitive here and that will be a signal that Republicans are poised to have a very good general election,”; Collins said.

Along with Djou, Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa are running both in a special election to fill out the remainder of Rep. Neil Abercrombie's congressional term and to represent Hawaii's 1st Congressional District of urban Honolulu.

Case, a former Hawaii congressman, said his opponents are “;locked into the pure partisan politics that has proven so corrosive to our government.”;

Hanabusa, the state Senate president, said the Republican Party doesn't “;really understand Hawaii politics.”; She said, “;What we have here is a strong sense of community and those elected are going with the mandate that they will do what is in the best interests of the state of Hawaii.”;

;[Preview]    Republican National Committee in Hawaii

Republican National Committee members are meeting here in the islands and will be here until the end of January.

Watch ]


Djou said in an e-mail statement: “;While I welcome support from the national GOP, it is not something I covet. The support of average Hawaii families is far more important to me.”;

At the Waikiki convention, the chairman of the RNC denounced a proposed resolution that would require Republican candidates to adhere to a checklist of conservative positions in order to receive party support, warning that it could undercut his party as it seeks to rebuild and win back control of Congress. The chairman, Michael Steele, expressed his views in an interview as the RNC prepared to debate the resolution at its winter meeting in Honolulu.


The New York Times contributed to this report.