Today we are taking a look at Hawaii’s two US Congressional seats up for election this year. The US Congressional delegation has seen very little change over the years. Hawaii has never voted out an incumbent for any of the US Senate or US House seats. This time we will be covering the candidates for the 1st and 2nd CD House races. The race for the 1st CD will be the second time this year that Hawaii voters will choose a representative. Charles Djou(R) won the May special election to fill the vacancy left by Neil Abercrombie. Abercrombie resigned in December to focus on his candidacy for Governor. The race for the 2nd CD features incumbent Democrat, Mazie Hirono. Let us start with the interesting 1st CD race.
Incumbent, Rep. Charles Djou, will be looking to earn the outright vote of the people come the primary and general elections. Rep. Djou won the right to serve as the interim Representative after his win in Hawaii’s special election held in May of this year. Djou, a Republican, beat out big name Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case in a hotly contested race. Many pundits feel that his win was a result of the two Democrats splitting the vote rather than an affirmation for Djou’s candidacy. Since being elected to office, Djou has voted to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, and against the extension of unemployment benefits. He runs on a platform which includes a push towards market-based healthcare reforms, tougher debate on earmarks, and lower taxes.
Challenging Rep. Djou within the Republican Party is John Giuffre. Giuffre is a relative unknown but has released numerous videos online and through Olelo which discuss the economic problems facing the nation. Based on the Big Island, Giuffre earned only 82 of the more than 150,000 votes tallied in May.
Democrat Rafael Del Castillo was the fourth leading vote getter in the May special election. Del Castillo moved to Hawaii in 1987. Just ten years later, he began his advocacy for healthcare reform in Hawaii. Del Castillo has an uphill battle to gain the party’s nomination but he will run on a platform which includes opposing any AMT for middle and lower-income families, a belief that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policies.
Current Hawaii Senate President, Colleen Hanabusa is the top Democrat in the race. Earning a surprising second place finish in the special election, Hanabusa cemented her position as one of the top Hawaii Democrats. Having spent her entire legislative time in the Senate, Hanabusa has been an outspoken advocate for the Leeward coast of Oahu. Hanabusa is widely expected to earn the Democratic nomination and the privilege to face incumbent Charles Djou in the November general election. Hanabusa runs on a platform of providing more resources to college scholarship and loan programs, expanding internet-based learning, and investing federal money into Hawaii’s renewable energy efforts.
Republican Paul Amsterdam is also running for US 1st CD seat.
2nd CD Representative, Mazie Hirono, is the only Democrat in the race. Hirono has been a member of the US House since 2006. Hirono served as Lt. Governor during the Cayetano administration. She would later lose her bid for the office against then Maui Mayor, Linda Lingle. Hirono currently sits on the Committee on Transportation and infrastructure, as well as the Committee on Education and Labor. Congresswoman Hirono is running on a platform of investing in early education, reforms of No Child Left Behind, and renewing the tax credits for renewable energy.
Hawaii television news anchor/reporter, Republican Ramsay Wharton, is set to compete in a tough race for the Republican Party nomination. Wharton, 39, entered the race back in February and brings a wealth of experience having covered politics for the last decade. Wharton promises to lower taxes, fight for better transparency in government, and protect Hawaii’s environment.
Set to battle Wharton for the GOP nomination is John Willoughby. The current United Airlines pilot, Willoughby resides in Honolulu with his wife and children. Willoughby is a former Navy pilot and was once stationed at Barbers Pt. Naval base in Kalaeloa. Willoughby runs on a platform focused on small business healthcare plans, finding ways to allows Hawaii’s school children to travel between islands, and assisting local farmers.
Republican Antonio Gimbernat, Libertarian Paul Brock, and Independent Andrew Von Sonn are also running for the US 2nd CD seat.
Join us Wednesday as we discuss the candidates vying for the US Senate seat currently held by Sen. Daniel Inouye.
Also, don’t forget to register to vote if you haven’t already.
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