Djou wins in Hawaii

This may not last for very long, but let’s enjoy it while we can. Charles Djou won his special election to take the Congressional seat in Barack Obama’s native Hawaii from the Democrats, taking 39% of the vote while two Democrats split the other 61%. In fact, Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa nearly tied, with Hanabusa only edging case for second place by three points:

Republican Charles Djou won the special election for Hawaii’s First Congressional District. The Honolulu City Councilmember grabbed 39% of the vote. State Senate president Colleen Hanabusa came in second with 30% of the vote. Former US Representative Ed Case came in third, gathering 27% the vote.

“This is a momentous day. We have sent a message to the United States Congress. We have sent a message to the ex-governors. We have sent a message to the national Democrats. We have sent a message to the machine. We have told them, that we will not stand idly by as our great nation is burdened by too much taxes and too much wasteful spending” said Representative-elect Djou in front of hundreds of supporters at Republican headquarters in Honolulu.

The biggest surprise of the evening for political observers was the third place finish by former US Representative Ed Case. Polls had showed him trailing Djou, but ahead of Hawaii State Senate president Colleen Hanabusa.

That surprising finish will almost certainly complicate matters even further for the Democrats. They gave up on the special election a couple of weeks ago when it became apparent that Hanabusa wouldn’t withdraw in favor of the more establishment Case, but figured that Case would win a primary later for the November midterm and put an end to the split. Now, it looks as though Case may have to withdraw or face a brutal primary that could once again put the seat at risk.

Hawaii-01 is a heavily Democratic district, and in a one-on-one fight, the Republicans have little chance of holding the seat. However, Djou may benefit from the short interlude, both by representing real change and by appealing to a sense of fair play by giving him enough time to make a difference. If Democrats end up feuding over a bitter primary fight — and after this embarrassing loss, bitterness between Case and Hanabusa is practically guaranteed — Djou could once again be the beneficiary.

Unlikely? Probably. In the meantime, though, congratulations to Congressman Djou for a terrific campaign, and welcome to Washington DC. We’ll worry about re-election later.