BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – Charles Djou, a Republican who was elected to serve in Hawaii’s First Congressional District in 2010 during a special election, will announce his plans for the 2012 election on Wednesday at noon.
He is expected to run for a third time for Hawaii’s First Congressional district, a seat currently held by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, D-HI.
Djou was elected to Congress in May 2010 in a three-way race that pitted him against two prominent Democrats, Congressman Ed Case (2002-2007) and then Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. But Djou lost the House seat by 6 points just six months later in the General Election to Democrat Colleen Hanabusa. The election was contentious and Hawaii’s Senior Senator, Daniel Inouye, personally helped Hanabusa campaign.
Djou is expected to challenge Hanabusa again for that Congressional seat, assuming Hanabusa runs for a second two-year House term, and not for the U.S. Senate seat left open by the retirement of US Senator Daniel Akaka, D-HI.
His press conference will be held in Kalihi, one of Oahu’s main industrial districts, which will help bring home Djou’s emphasis on the importance of job creation and the economy. Djou’s campaign themes are in line with all major presidential candidates including President Barack Obama and the top Republican candidates vying for America’s top political office in 2012.
Former Republican Congresswoman Pat Saiki (1987-1991) will join Djou at his announcement. On Tuesday, Djou told Mike Buck, KHVH New Radio’s afternoon talk show host, that he greatly admired Saiki when she was in Congress and actually volunteered for her campaign when he was 16 years old. Djou, now 41 years old, said his relationship with Saiki, 81, has come full circle and she is now helping him on his Congressional campaign.
Djou told Hawaii Reporter in past interviews, and re-emphasized to his supporters in an email on Monday, that Hawaii is isolated by the lack of bipartisan representation in Hawaii’s Congressional delegation.
All four of Hawaii’s congressional delegates are Democrats.
On July 25, Djou authored an editorial in Hawaii Reporter expanding on this theme.
“Hawaii’s delegation votes with such little independence and with such strong lock-step loyalty to their partisan political leadership that our state is exceptionally vulnerable to the rapidly changing dynamics in Washington. With Republicans in ascendency in the U.S. House, Hawaii has become increasingly isolated and unable to effectively communicate our needs to the GOP in control in Washington,” Djou said.
He added, “Over the long-term one-party rule never works well for the people. Whether it is the old Soviet Union or Hawaii today, narrow group thinking from one political party is never healthy for any community. We need more balance in our political leadership and a vigorous two-party democracy. The longer Hawaii remains under one-party rule, the more vulnerable and isolated our state will be.”
Djou, who also served in on the Honolulu City Council and in the state legislature, emphasized that in 2012, Hawaii voters will have a “historic opportunity” to bring balance to Hawaii’s elected leadership.
“1962, 1976 and 1990 were the only other times since statehood that Hawaii has faced as historic and wide -open election for Congress as we face in 2012. It is up to the voters to seize the opportunity,” Djou wrote.