Democrat Mark Takai and Republican Charles Djou are headed for a photo finish in the race for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.

The candidates are tied at 45 percent each, with 9 percent of the electorate still undecided — even with election day just one week away.

Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted The Civil Beat Poll, said recent elections give an indication of where this contest might be headed.

“We’re seeing similar trends from how Djou has fared in previous elections and how Takai fared in the primary,” he said. “Takai got stronger closer to Election Day. Djou is a very formidable Republican candidate in a very tough district, but he’s got a ceiling. He was able to win it once in a three-way race, but the other times he came up a little short.”

Charles Djou and Mark Takai shake hands at end of a candidates forum, Sept. 23.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Third Time a Charm?

The three-way race was when Djou defeated Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa in a May 2010 special election to fill out the remainder of the term of Neil Abercrombie, who resigned to run for governor. There were 11 other candidates on the ballot in the winner-take-all bout, but each collected less than o.5 percent of the vote.

Case elected not to run against Hanabusa in the Democratic primary that year, and Hanabusa went on to defeat Djou by 6 percentage points in the general election. In a rematch with Djou two years later, Hanabusa won by 9 percentage points.

Hanabusa’s unsuccessful challenge against U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary opened up the CD1 race. Takai came from behind in the polls to defeat six other candidates and become the nominee while Djou faces only nominal competition in his third…

Loading Civil Beat Poll: Takai-Djou Race Too Close To Call

Follow Civil Beat on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for Civil Beat’s free daily newsletter.

About the Author