Hawaii 1st Congressional District

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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
Lei Ahu Isa For Congress Courtesy

Lei Ahu Isa For Congress

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee is seeking the seat being vacated by Mark Takai.
Takai Indicates Support For Hanabusa Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Takai Indicates Support For Hanabusa

The U.S. congressman says he will do what he can to elect "a progressive champion to represent Hawaii in Congress."
Hanabusa To Run For Takai’s Seat In Congress? PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Hanabusa To Run For Takai’s Seat In Congress?

The Democrat and former congresswoman likely would scare off many potential challengers for the seat she won twice before Takai.
Rep. Mark Takai Of Hawaii Will Not Run For Re-Election Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Rep. Mark Takai Of Hawaii Will Not Run For Re-Election

The first-term congressman says that his pancreatic cancer has spread, but he promises to serve out the remainder of his term.
New Political Parties Get Their Shot On Hawaii Ballots This Year PF Bentley/Civil Beat

New Political Parties Get Their Shot On Hawaii Ballots This Year

UPDATED: The Hawaii Constitution Party, the Hawaii Independent Party and the American Shopping Party have qualified.
Takai Says He’s Sticking With Clinton — For Now Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Takai Says He’s Sticking With Clinton — For Now

Pressure is building for superdelegates to support the presidential candidate who won that state's caucus or primary. For Hawaii, that would mean Bernie Sanders.
Undeterred By Cancer, Takai Wants A Second Term In Congress Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Undeterred By Cancer, Takai Wants A Second Term In Congress

The Hawaii Democrat says he is responding well to treatments for pancreatic cancer and has been told by doctors he can run for re-election.
Hawaii 1st Congressional District: Takai Defeats Djou Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hawaii 1st Congressional District: Takai Defeats Djou

The CD1 race has been one of the state's tightest and most closely watched campaigns in 2014.
Civil Beat Poll: Takai-Djou Race Too Close To Call PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Civil Beat Poll: Takai-Djou Race Too Close To Call

The candidates for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District are locked in a tie, while incumbents Schatz and Gabbard are expected to cruise to big victory in their races.
Hawaii Candidates for Congress Fundraise to the Finish Line PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Hawaii Candidates for Congress Fundraise to the Finish Line

Takai hauls in almost three times as much as Djou, but Djou has more than twice as much cash on hand.
Ad Watch: Takai Plays the Veterans Card. Again. Mark Takai for Congress

Ad Watch: Takai Plays the Veterans Card. Again.

There is fresh fodder from the candidates running for the U.S. Congress, and more negative spots in the race for Hawaii governor.
Takai Campaign Raises More Money, But Djou Has More Cash on Hand Civil Beat composite

Takai Campaign Raises More Money, But Djou Has More Cash on Hand

Hawaii candidates for Congress report their quarterly expenses and contributions as election nears.