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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Democrats "Bracing" For Loss in Hawaii CD-1 Special Election Today

Hawaii is holding a special election today in the 1st Congressional District to fill the seat vacated by Neil Abercrombie who resigned earlier this year to run for Governor.

Republicans believe they have a real shot of winning today with Charles Djou, who is actually leading in the latest polls against two Democrat candidates. Since the election is being held without a primary, all candidates are listed on the ballot, and it appears, the two main Democrats will split the vote sufficiently to allow Djou to win. There are 14 candidates in all on the ballot. Whoever gets the most votes wins, even if it is not a majority.

The vote is being conducted as a vote-by-mail election, so there are no polling places. All ballots have to be received by 6:00 pm today Hawaii time (Midnight ET) in order to be counted.

This is Obama's backyard. He carried the state with 72% of the vote. So a GOP win here would be a shot in the arm for Republicans, and an embarrassing blow for Obama.

The Washington Post: Democrats are bracing for the loss of a House seat Saturday in President Obama's birthplace of Hawaii, where a special election in a heavily Democratic district has inflamed tensions within the party.

Republican Charles Djou has been leading in recent public polls in the winner-takes-all contest -- largely as a result of a feud between two Democratic candidates that has splintered their party's base. A Djou victory would break the Democrats' long winning streak of special elections and hand the Republican Party a symbolic victory in its bid to regain control of Congress.

There were no party primaries to replace Neil Abercrombie, a 10-term Democratic congressman who resigned to run for governor, so Saturday's election features 14 candidates. Whoever gets the most votes wins.

The two leading Democrats, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former congressman Ed Case, have been fighting for months, with neither candidate willing to bow out of the race in the interest of party unity.

Seizing the opportunity, Djou appealed to voters' concerns about the federal deficit, striking an anti-Washington tone in an effort to become only the third Republican ever to represent Hawaii in Congress.

"I've centered my whole campaign on my approach to fiscal responsibility and government accountability, and I think that's resonating with the electorate, even here in Hawaii," Djou said in an interview Friday. He added, "For a long time, there's been a feeling that this seat is wholly owned by the Democratic Party. I have been hitting hard on the theme that this is not a seat that is owned by any political party or union or special interest group. This is a seat owned by the people." . . . MORE


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