Former Congressman Charles Djou was the 2012 and 2014 Republican nominee for the Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District seat.
In 2014, he ran against Democratic nominee, state Rep. Mark Takai., for the seat given up by incumbent Colleen Hanabusa who ran, unsuccessfully, for the U.S. Senate.
In 2012, he received 90 percent of the vote in the August 2012 primary, but lost to Hanabusa in the general election. Djou received 44 percent of the vote while Hanabusa received 54 percent.
Previously, Djou beat Hanabusa for the Congressional District 1 seat in the May 2010 special election, but Hanabusa ejected Djou in the November 2010 general election.
That special election victory made him only the third Republican from Hawaii to serve in Congress since statehood. He served in Congress for just seven months.
When Djou announced he was running again for the seat in August 2011, he also announced he would deploy to Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Reserve soldier for six months beginning in September.
Djou said he served as a rule of law military adviser to help the Afghan National Police and the Afghan judiciary comply with laws.
In an August 2011 interview with Civil Beat, Djou explained his decision to join the military this way:
“The military is important and integral part of life in Hawaii. While I think a lot of people see what service members go through, I think people sometimes take it for granted. Ultimately, individuals have to serve. It’s individuals who have to answer the call to duty, and it’s families who bear this burden. I’m happy to do my small share.”
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 ran unsuccessfully for the District 47 seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives in 1998. 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 is an attorney who practices business law and is an adjunct at the William S. Richardson School of Law, and an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
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 $5 billion rail system, and his efforts to reduce the presence of homeless colonies in city parks and beaches.
Djou is outspoken and frequently speaks to the media on a range of issues involving the city, state and federal governments. According to Djou, he has played a leading role in cleaning up corruption in the Honolulu Liquor Commission, promoting ethics reform for elected officials, and pushing for recycling and protecting the environment.