Djou enters race for Hawaii Congressional seat

Published On: Apr 03 2014 10:19:26 AM HST   Updated On: Apr 03 2014 09:01:37 PM HST

"I'm here today to officially tell all of you that I am running for Hawaii's first Congressional district seat," announced former Hawaii Congressman Charles Djou to a crowd of cheers.

Click here for Pamela Young's report.

After weeks of speculation, Djou has thrown his hat in the ring. He sat on the sidelines for two years before hit the ground running, announcing his candidacy and launching his campaign at a Republican Women's lunch at Wai'alae Country Club Thursday.

His campaign confirmed Thursday he's running for the seat U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is vacating as she runs for U.S. Senate.

But was there a specific turn of events that motivated him to run?

"This is not something I've been waiting for with bated breath to run for this office. I know there are so many other candidate running for months, even years. For me, I've been waiting for someone to step up and unfortunately I have not," said Djou.

After winning the special election for the seat in 2010 when Neil Abercrombie vacated it to run for Governor, Djou lost two subsequent elections.

"For me this hiatus has been a very good reward. For me it is enormously refreshing to understand what the true priorities are for average local residents," said Djou.

Republican Djou represented Hawaii's first Congressional district in Congress from 2010 to 2011.  He served on the Budget Committee and Armed Services Committee in the House.

Djou is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve. After serving in Congress, he was deployed to Afghanistan.

Before his stint in Congress, Djou was on the Honolulu City Council.  He also served in the Hawaii House of Representatives as minority floor leader.

Timing is everything though. Even though it looks like Djou has the disadvantage by entering the race just six months before the primary, the Republican party thinks his Democratic opponents will spend most of their campaign funds on fighting each other. That's before they get in the ring to face Djou.

"The overflow of candidates on the Democratic side gives him an advantage. Hopefully they'll spend a lot of money and Charles will be able to challenge the winner of that primary," said Republican Party Chair Pat Saiki.

In the Republican primary, Djou faces Georgia resident Stanley Allan Levene.

The Democratic slate has seven candidates in the first Congressional district primary. Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim is running for the seat along with Sen. Will Espero; council members Ikaika Anderson and Stanley Chang; Rep. Mark Takai; and community activist Kathryn Xian.


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