One day after a public opinion poll showed Republican Charles Djou leading Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa, all three candidates sought to rally their base but also reach out to voters wanting change.
The quick takeaway from the May 3 televised debate: Djou is a fresh face and fiscal conservative who will bring political balance to Hawaii’s delegation in D.C., Case is a moderate-independent with past experience in Congress, and Hanabusa is the candidate who most embodies local Democratic values.
The context: Djou supporters are emboldened by the real possibility Hawaii will send only its third Republican to Washington in 50 years — if only for seven months — and deal a blow to Democrats’ one-party dominance. Neither Case nor Hanabusa said they would drop out before the May 22 vote in order to get a Democrat elected in the winner-take-all contest
Alarmed, national Dems are paying close attention. Politico reports the White House and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee think Case is the stronger candidate. Meanwhile, a robocall recorded by President Obama is asking 1st Congressional voters to pick a Democrat “who will support my agenda in Congress,” according to The Hill.
A Djou win would not only chip away at Democrats’ majority in the U.S. House; because Obama was born in Honolulu, a Republican victory in the 1st District would be a major PR coup.