By Tim Lussier

Charles Djou is a really positive candidate and has a strong chance of winning Hawaii’s Special Election held May 22nd. He’s a well-spoken former state representative and now a successful city councilman. He has experience as a professor of law, an army reservist and most importantly a devoted husband and father.

Political insiders often look at money raised and the latest polls to gauge a candidate’s elect-ability. Charles not only has the polls in his favor, strong money raised but what I saw this weekend was an incredible connection with voters.

Earlier this month on a Saturday, I had the opportunity to walk in a parade with Charles at the Hawaiian Airlines’ 18th Annual Filipino Fiesta Parade in Waikiki.

Currently some polls show Charles is leading his two closest Democratic rivals.

At the parade, I saw one of his main rivals, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who was at the start of the parade. I quickly realized that she had just one actual volunteer and she chose to march with a union. To me, that showed a strong contrast between the two campaigns. Charles’ supporters came from all over the island and from different backgrounds, ages, ethnicity and truly all walks of life. Our group was made up of unpaid volunteers and coming because we believed in a wonderful candidate. Interestingly we even had two tourists on vacation join us.

With the union group yelling from their bullhorn far in front of us, we proudly walked with Charles.

People shouted their support; “Charles, I just turned in my ballot.” – “Hey, Djou you going to win this!” The enthusiasm from the average voter was palpable and positive.

The parade concluded in Kapiolani Park and Charles took quite a bit of time to meet with voters. He spoke to many Hawaii families include a father and his 12-year-son who said Charles was his ‘idol’. One of my favorite things about Charles is that he always shares with voters that his most important priority in life is being a good husband and father.

Normally a Democratic candidate would have easily won this Democratic District in President Obama’s home state, but both democratic candidates are trailing Charles. Over the past few months Charles has gone from being a long shot, to being tied and now is leading by what some polls are saying is 8 points.

This special election is incredibly close. But if what I saw during this experience is any indication of Djou’s support district wide, then I believe Hawaii has a great chance of electing a Republican here in the Aloha state’s first congressional district this May 22nd.

Tim Lussier is a President’s Leadership Scholar graduating this month with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Entrepreneurial Studies from Hawai`i Pacific University. He’s lived in Waikiki for two years but calls West Linn, Oregon home.

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Malia Zimmerman is the editor and co-founder of Hawaii Reporter. She has worked as a consultant and contributor to several dozen media outlets including ABC 20/20, FOX News, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, UPI and the Washington Times. Malia has been listed as one of the nation’s top "Web Proficients, Virtuosi, and Masters" and "Hawaii's new media thought leader" by http://www.thewebstersdictionary.com Reach her at Malia@hawaiireporter.com