Just like in the commercials warning you about termites and rust never sleeping, the 1st Congressional District battle between U.S. Rep. Charles Djou and state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa doesn’t ever really go away.
Even in this double political down time before the candidate filing deadline on July 20 and the traditional start of campaigning on Labor Day, Hanabusa and Djou are not resting.
Now is the time to gather campaign bucks and start watering those grassroots.
Hanabusa has started up the coffee hour campaign trail and Congressman Djou is in your mail box and on your phone.
Campaigners for the two successful attorneys each say the numbers are with them.
Both Democrat Hanabusa and Republican Djou look to the results in the special election that Djou won as proof that they are the inevitable winner in November.
Hawaii’s 1st Congressional is a tough district for the GOP. The dream GOP district would take in both the upper-middle class portions of east Honolulu, from Waialae to Hawaii Kai, and then continue around the coast to pick up Kailua and Enchanted Lake. That would be a Republican base with real legs.
Instead, the GOP gets just an East Honolulu base and then continues through Kalihi, Moanalua and Pearl City where children are told at birth to vote D.
Djou dominated the three-way race and actually won a few precincts over the combined totals of the two Democrats. Specifically, Djou picked up more votes than the totals of Hanabusa and Case in precincts around Black Point, Hahaione and Ewa Beach.
The biggest Djou negative was the Manoa School precinct, where he had 1,090 to a combined Democratic total of 2,542.
What about Ed Case voters: Can they flip the vote to Djou? Not likely. Case ran well in the far East Honolulu districts of Hawaii Kai and Niu, and then he won the hilltops in Waialae, St. Louis and Wilhelmina, plus Waikiki. That was it. The lights pretty much went out for Djou and Case after Makiki.
Djou’s campaign argues that the Democrats are in disarray.
"Look at their party chair Dante (Carpenter) talking trash to Mufi (Hannemann)," says GOP Executive Director Dylan Nonaka.
Plus Djou has the advantage of incumbency and more people voted for him than Hanabusa, Nonaka says.
Hanabusa’s campaign still looks strong. Moanalua and Pearl City don’t grow many Republicans.
Watch for Djou to make a point of campaigning in Kalihi and for Hanabusa to start talking up Mililani. For the rest of us, enjoy the down time and watch out for rust and those termites.