Hawaii 1st Congressional District

| Suggest an Edit

Hawaii has two congressional districts, the 1st and 2nd. The 1st Congressional District is essentially urban Honolulu, but it stretches from Hawaii Kai in East Honolulu to Waipahu in west Oahu and Mililani in central Oahu. The district includes Pearl City, Waimalu, Aiea and the downtown area where Hawaii’s government offices and many of its top businesses are concentrated. The 2nd Congressional District comprises all the other areas of Oahu and the counties of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island.

Overview

In 2014, U.S. Rep Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat, gave up the seat to run for the U.S. Senate, a race she lost in the Democratic primary. Democrat Mark Takai, a state legislator, and GOP contender Charles Djou, who held the seat briefly and has run multiple times, were vying to replace her. Takai won but died before finishing his term and Tulsi Gabbard was elected to fill  his vacancy in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016.

The 2011 Reapportionment Commission redrew new district boundaries based on 2010 census data. One change meant that Hanabusa’s Ko Olina home, which was located in the 2nd District, is now within the 1st.

Hawaii congressional representatives are not required to live in the district they represent, though the practice has been criticized.

History

About half of the nearly 700,000 people who live in the 1st Congressional District are registered voters. The district has a diverse population in terms of ethnicity and socioeconomic status, and so the congressional representative has diverse constituencies with varying needs.

For example, issues facing residents of Kalihi, an area near downtown that includes some of the poorest neighborhoods on Oahu, differ considerably from Kahala and Diamond Head, an East Honolulu region that is among the wealthiest in the state. Some neighborhoods, like downtown, are densely populated urban areas; others, like Aina Haina, are bedroom communities; and some, like Waipio, include agricultural-zoned land.

The district also has major academic institutions like the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the major transportation hubs of Honolulu Harbor and the Honolulu International Airport, industrial and warehouse cores, the tourism center of Waikiki, and military facilities such as Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.

From statehood in 1959 until 1963, Hawaii had only one representative in the U.S. House, as it did during the territorial period from 1900 until 1959. In 1963 Hawaii began sending two statewide at-large representatives to Congress.

The 1st Congressional District was created in 1971 and has mostly been occupied by Democrats: Spark Matsunaga (1971-1977), Cec Heftel (1977-1986) and Neil Abercrombie (1986-1987, 1991-2010). Pat Saiki (1987-1991) was the first Republican to serve the district.

Despite the one-party dominance of Democrats, recent campaign results suggest there is significant support for Republicans in the district.

In the 2008 presidential election, 70 percent of the vote in Honolulu — which includes a portion of the 2nd Congressional District but primarily comprises the 1st — went to Barack Obama, who was born in Honolulu. That same year the incumbent Abercrombie was re-elected with 70 percent of the vote.

In 2004, however, Democratic John Kerry edged President George W. Bush 51-48 percent on Oahu. Vice President Dick Cheney campaigned in Hawaii during the closing days of the race, as did one of Kerry’s daughters. Republican Dalton Tanonaka managed to pick up 33 percent of the vote to Abercrombie’s 60 percent that year.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore defeated Bush 54-39 percent, in Hawaii while Abercrombie topped Republican Phil Meyers 62-26 percent.

Hawaii 1st Congressional District
Chad Blair: Why Would Anyone Want To Run For Congress? Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chad Blair: Why Would Anyone Want To Run For Congress?

Maybe because it pays well, there are lots of perks and it’s possible — just possible — to do some good.

Judge: Angela Kaaihue’s Name To Remain On Ballot — Twice kaaihue4congress.com

Judge: Angela Kaaihue’s Name To Remain On Ballot — Twice

She is running as a Democrat for one congressional seat and as a Republican for another — to the chagrin of both parties.

Hawaii Democrats To Challenge Kaaihue’s Candidacy Facebook

Hawaii Democrats To Challenge Kaaihue’s Candidacy

UPDATED: The Republican running for the 2nd Congressional District has filed to run as a Democrat in the special election to fill the 1st District seat.
Congressional Candidates Try To Stave Off A Hanabusa ‘Coronation’ Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Congressional Candidates Try To Stave Off A Hanabusa ‘Coronation’

The Democratic race to represent urban Oahu looks like a shoo-in for Colleen Hanabusa, but the list of candidates is long.
Election For Vacant House Seat File Photo

Election For Vacant House Seat

Hawaii officials have confirmed that the special election to fill the late Mark Takai's office will be held the same day as the Nov. 8 general election.
Services Set For Mark Takai Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Services Set For Mark Takai

The late U.S. congressman will lie in state at the Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda Aug. 18.
How Two Different People Could Win The Same US House Seat Cory Lum/Civil Beat

How Two Different People Could Win The Same US House Seat

Come November, voters may be asked to elect short-term and long-term replacements for the late Mark Takai.
Gabbard: $1.9M Cash On Hand Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Gabbard: $1.9M Cash On Hand

Compared with her challengers, the Hawaii congresswoman's re-election campaign is very well funded.
EMILY’s List Supports Hanabusa Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

EMILY’s List Supports Hanabusa

The PAC backing the candidate for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District calls itself "the nation’s largest resource for women in politics."
House: Bar Women From Draft Cory Lum/Civil Beat

House: Bar Women From Draft

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a measure that says women should not be required to register for a potential military draft.
Former Hawaii Congresswoman Backs GOP Candidate Against Hanabusa Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Former Hawaii Congresswoman Backs GOP Candidate Against Hanabusa

Pat Saiki says that retired U.S. Air Force colonel Shirlene Ostrov is "a candidate who can win."
Djou Jumps Into Mayor’s Race; Aiona Opts Not To Run At All PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Djou Jumps Into Mayor’s Race; Aiona Opts Not To Run At All

Many Hawaii legislators will be unopposed, especially the most influential ones. But some lawmakers face tough contests.