Charles Djou

| Suggest an Edit

Former Congressman Charles Djou is one of Hawaii’s most notable Republicans.

A lawyer, he is a former Hawaii Republican Party vice chair and a former state legislator. He served for eight years on the Honolulu City Council.

In 2016 he mounted an unsuccessful bid for Honolulu mayor against incumbent Kirk Caldwell.

Contents

The Basics

Charles Djou is a former U.S. congressman and one of Hawaii’s most prominent Republicans.

He is a former Hawaii Republican Party vice chair and a former state legislator. He served for eight years on the Honolulu City Council.

In 2016 he mounted an unsuccessful bid for mayor against incumbent Kirk Caldwell.

History/Career

Djou was born Aug. 9, 1970, in Los Angeles. He graduated from Punahou School and holds a B.A. in political science and a B.S. in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Djou also has a law degree from the University of Southern California Law School.

Djou has practiced business law, was an adjunct at the William S. Richardson School of Law and is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

In 1998, Djou ran unsuccessfully for the District 47 seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives. He was the vice chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party from 1998 to 1999, and then ran for the House seat again in 2000, this time successfully. He served as minority floor leader.

In 2002 Djou moved from his Windward Oahu district to East Honolulu to run for the Honolulu City Council. He was re-elected in 2006 and limited to two terms.

On the Council, Djou was chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee and a member of the Public Infrastructure, Budget and Public Services committees.

Djou’s eight years on the Honolulu City Council were distinguished by his opposition to raising taxes, his opposition to the city’s plan to build a rail system, and his efforts to reduce the presence of homeless camps in city parks and beaches.

In May 2010, a special election was held to fill the vacant seat of Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District. In a winner-take-all race, Djou beat Colleen Hanabusa and many other candidates.

That special election victory made him only the third Republican from Hawaii to serve in Congress since statehood. But served in Congress for just seven months, as Hanabusa, a Democrat, defeated him in the 2010 general election to serve a full two-year term.

When Djou announced he was running again for the seat in August 2011, he also told of his plans to deploy to Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Reserve soldier for six months beginning in September. He served as a rule of law military adviser to help the Afghan National Police and the Afghan judiciary comply with laws.

He was the 2012 Republican nominee for the 1st District seat, but he again lost to Hanabusa. When Hanabusa ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2014, Djou again sought the same seat but lost to Democrat Mark Takai.

In 2014 he ran against Democratic nominee Mark Takai, who won but later died while still in office.

He then lost to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell in 2016 in a nonpartisan race that centered on the controversial rail project. Caldwell supports its completion, but Djou had been critical of large cost overruns and project delays.

Having lost multiple consecutive elections in a state dominated by Democrats, Djou’s political future is uncertain.

Charles Djou
Caldwell Outspent Djou Nearly 4-To-1 In Honolulu Mayor’s Race Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Caldwell Outspent Djou Nearly 4-To-1 In Honolulu Mayor’s Race

The mayor raised $3.6 million, and a super PAC kicked in nearly $1 million more to support his re-election bid.

Reader Rep: Was It Fair To Turn Kirk Caldwell Into A Cardboard Cutout? Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Reader Rep: Was It Fair To Turn Kirk Caldwell Into A Cardboard Cutout?

Credit Civil Beat for coming up with a creative approach to candidate videos. But the resulting coverage could have been more balanced.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell Re-Elected Over Charles Djou Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Mayor Kirk Caldwell Re-Elected Over Charles Djou

The Honolulu mayor is heading into another term after Djou conceded Tuesday evening.

3 Civil Questions For Kirk Caldwell And Charles Djou — Episode 4

3 Civil Questions For Kirk Caldwell And Charles Djou — Episode 4

In this episode, the mayor and his challenger are asked about a do-over for rail, Oahu’s traffic and urban sprawl.

VIDEO: 3 Civil Questions For Caldwell and Djou — Episode 2

VIDEO: 3 Civil Questions For Caldwell and Djou — Episode 2

In this episode: what Honolulu is doing right, a model city, a new landfill.

VIDEO: 3 Civil Questions For Kirk Caldwell And Charles Djou Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

VIDEO: 3 Civil Questions For Kirk Caldwell And Charles Djou

We wanted to know what the mayoral candidates had to say about more than just rail. Watch a short video of our questions to the two candidates.

Caldwell Camp Rejects Djou Debate Scheme As ‘Campaign Stunt’ Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Caldwell Camp Rejects Djou Debate Scheme As ‘Campaign Stunt’

The Honolulu mayoral challenger wanted the two candidates to pay for 30 minutes of airtime on KITV on Saturday.

Caldwell Campaign: We May Have Been Duped With Newspaper Ad

Caldwell Campaign: We May Have Been Duped With Newspaper Ad

A campaign ad in the Star-Advertiser listed “Dennis Francis” — the name of the paper’s publisher — as one of the mayor’s supporters.

TV Spots — And One Big Print Ad — Spice Up Mayor’s Race Djou for Mayor

TV Spots — And One Big Print Ad — Spice Up Mayor’s Race

Incumbent Kirk Caldwell lets others do the talking, while challenger Charles Djou appears with his wife — and in uniform.

Djou Says Caldwell Lied About Bank Compensation Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Djou Says Caldwell Lied About Bank Compensation

But the mayor’s political advisers say the ethics complaint is just a campaign ploy.

Honolulu Voters Don’t Love Rail, But They Still Want The Job Done Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Honolulu Voters Don’t Love Rail, But They Still Want The Job Done

Supporters of building the train’s route all the way to Ala Moana Center far outnumber people who want to cut the rail line short.

Caldwell Up 7 Points Over Djou In Honolulu Mayor’s Race Anthony Quintano / Civil Beat

Caldwell Up 7 Points Over Djou In Honolulu Mayor’s Race

Trump is far behind Clinton among Oahu voters. That may hurt Republican Djou even though the mayor’s race is nonpartisan.