The man who represents Hawaii Republicans’ best hope to pick up a congressional seat has a 4 percentage point lead over his Democratic opponent.
Charles Djou leads Mark Takai 46 percent to 42 percent in Civil Beat’s latest poll. Just 12 percent of voters are undecided.
The state has only sent three Republicans to Washington, D.C., since statehood in 1959, and Djou, a former state legislator and a former Honolulu City Councilman, is one of them. He won a special election to replace Neil Abercrombie in 2010 when the longtime congressman resigned to run successfully for governor.
But the special election was a winner-take-all contest that Djou won because Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case split the Democrats. Hanabusa won the seat outright later that year and held Djou off again in 2012, though he made a respectable showing in both elections.
In a state controlled by Democrats, Djou is not necessarily at an advantage over Takai.
“Djou is a real known quantity, and he’s well regarded,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted The Civil Beat Poll. “And he regularly finishes closer than you might expect. But this is his fourth candidacy for this office and it’s a tough district for a Republican to win.”
Fitch said Takai, despite having lower name recognition, demonstrated in the August primary that he can come from behind. The state representative trailed state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim for much of the race before winning by a large margin.
“He just came through a tough primary and he showed an ability to erase a deficit and win going away,”…
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