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  • Hawaii 1st Congressional District: Takai Defeats Djou

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Democrat Mark Takai has defeated Republican Charles Djou in the race to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years.

    With all precincts reporting Tuesday evening, Takai was up over Djou, 51 percent to 48 percent. Djou picked up a little ground in the third wave of results that were released just after 10 p.m. but not enough to flip the results.

    “We started this race Aug. 7, 2013 — 15 months ago,” Takai told supporters at the Japanese Cultural Center in Moiliili, where Democrats gathered to celebrate their big night. “An absolute marathon. A long, long race. It actually felt like sprinting every single day.”

    Mark Takai speaks to supporters after winning a seat in the U.S. Congress.

    Cory Lum/Civil Beat

    Takai thanked Djou for a campaign that he said focused on issues. He also said the race was about values — about caring for keiki and kupuna.

    Takai concluded by thanking his family and said he looked forward to working with a united Democratic congressional delegation on behalf of Hawaii. 

    Djou gave a heartfelt concession speech to a roomful of supporters at his campaign headquarters in Kalihi moments after calling Takai to congratulate him.

    “I believe that we needed bipartisan representation in our delegation. I believe that our government needs change and that this one-party system is failing us,” Djou said. “But while I believe in all of these things, I also believe that we live in a wonderful nation. And one of

  • Denby Fawcett: Digging Up Dirt and Opposition Research 101

    · By Denby Fawcett

    Hawaii’s candidates for governor and the 1st Congressional District may be too squeaky clean and Boy Scout-ish for any dirt to emerge about them in the upcoming election.

    It is difficult to imagine Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige — whose friends say the most scandalous thing he ever did was to “toilet paper” friends’ cars in college — involved in anything salacious.

    Or to imagine goodie-goodie Republican congressional candidate Charles Djou staggering down a Chinatown street after drinking too many mango margaritas at the Pig and the Lady.

    An image from one of several ads the Pacific Resource Partnership ran to attack former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano in 2012.

    Screen shot

    Or born-again Catholic GOP contender Duke Aiona hanging out with a “lady of the night.”

    Or to envision Democratic congressional candidate Mark Takai, a war veteran and avid family man, running a gambling ring in Aina Haina.

    Not going to happen.

    “They are boringly clean,” says political analyst Neal Milner, who is a columnist for Civil Beat. “They are making for a very dull election.”

    Whether the candidates are dull or not, Hawaii voters should be prepared for negative attacks as the election gets closer and view the attacks skeptically.

    Most of Hawaii’s political campaigns — if they have the money — are digging deep and using what’s known as opposition research, or “oppo,” in the hopes of finding information to cast their opponents in a negative light.

    Oppo researchers hunt for a politician’s character flaws, but more routinely they gather information about the

  • Civil Beat Poll: GOP’s Djou Up By 4 Points Over Democrat Takai in CD1

    · By Chad Blair

    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.

    Former Congressman Charles Djou and state Rep. Mark Takai are in a tight race for U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s seat.

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    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

  • Chad Blair: Republicans on Parade

    · By Chad Blair

    I’ve seen this parade before.

    Dozens of hopeful candidates from diverse walks of life, hopeful, excited, sporting banners and signs and buttons and T-shirts and stickers and websites, all believing this will be the election year that Hawaii elects more than a token representation of Republicans.

    I saw this parade just two years ago, when Linda Lingle and Charles Djou went down to defeat in runs for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

    I saw it as well in 2010, when Djou lost his re-election bid for the 1st Congressional District, Cam Cavasso was beat by the unbeatable U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye and Duke Aiona was felled in a gubernatorial landslide caused by Democrat Neil Abercrombie.

    Future governor, congressman and lieutenant governor? From left, Duke Aiona, Charles Djou and Elwin Ahu.

    Chad Blair/Civil Beat

    Some of the very same Republican candidates crowded the Kapiolani Park Bandstand on Saturday afternoon at a party unity rally, including Aiona, Djou and Cavasso again running for the same top seats.

    Same goes for state House of Representatives candidates Julia Allen and Carole Kauhiwai Kaapu, who failed to depose Democrats Calvin Say and John Mizuno in 2010 and 2012 but are back at it again.

    “A couple of weeks ago, friends, we had a hurricane here, and I’m not talking about the rain.” — Charles Djou

    Indeed, Allen, who can be seen sign-waving most election-season mornings at the corner of Waialae Avenue and St. Louis Drive, also ran against Say in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Say is no longer House speaker, but he

  • Djou vs. Takai: An Early Look at the 1st Congressional District Race

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Mark Takai and Charles Djou have much in common. They’re middle-aged family men who grew up in Hawaii, serve in the military and have years of experience in elected office.

    But there are fundamental differences between the two candidates that will help urban Oahu voters decide Nov. 4 who they want to represent them in Congress for the next two years.

    The race to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who left her post for an unsuccessful Senate run, is shaping up to be competitive. Djou is anxious to return to a seat he briefly held and Takai is looking to take his long political career in the Legislature up to the next level.

    Former lawmaker Charles Djou, left, is running against Rep. Mark Takai in the 1st Congressional District race.

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    Funding will be a factor as they try to attract thousands of potential voters in the 1st Congressional District — a socially, culturally and economically diverse area of Oahu that ranges from Kapolei and Pearl City to Honolulu and Hawaii Kai.

    Djou, 44, has the most campaign cash on hand with almost $440,000 as of July 20. He’s been able to stockpile money after sailing through the Aug. 9 primary without a serious competitor.

    As a result, Djou has an almost three-to-one financial advantage over the 47-year-old Takai, who spent more than $500,000 to beat six other Democrats in the primary.

    Donations are pouring into both camps, though, as

  • Checking the Fact Check: Djou Claim on Small Business Vote is False

    · By Colleen Hanabusa

    U.S. Rep responds to Civil Beat Fact Check about her voting record.

  • Civil Beat Poll – Hanabusa Expands Lead Over Djou In Race for Congress

    · By Michael Levine

    Democrats likely to continue representing Hawaii in House.

  • Djou: Hanabusa Voted Against Small Business Tax Relief

    · By Anita Hofschneider

    Hawaii Congressional District 1 candidates spar over who has a better record supporting small businesses.

  • Civil Beat Poll – Dems Lead Congress Races

    · By Michael Levine

    Gabbard cruising past Crowley; Hanabusa leading Djou.

  • Hanabusa: Djou Voted Against Military Funding

    · By Anita Hofschneider

    Military spending made up nearly 18 percent of Hawaii’s GDP in 2009 and accounted for 101,000 jobs.

  • Djou: I Was Hawaii’s Most Moderate Congressman

    · By Anita Hofschneider

    1st Congressional District candidate also says he was one of the only 10 moderates.

  • Hanabusa Takes Round One in Djou Rematch

    · By Chad Blair

    In Hawaii Public Radio debate, incumbent corners challenger on voting record.

  • Djou Plays Dad Card As Campaign Issue

    · By Michael Levine

    Hawaii’s female candidates for federal office have no keiki.

  • Quiet Rematch For Hawaii’s 1st District Seat

    · By Chad Blair

    The race between Hanabusa and Djou overshadowed by other races.

  • May I Speak With the Candidate, Please?

    · By Chad Blair

    Hawaii’s major congressional contenders rarely speak for themselves — and that’s a disservice to the public.