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Blog Home Page --> House -- Hawaii -- 01

Republican House Gain May Be Short Lived In Hawaii

Since President Obama took office, Democrats have lost governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia, and the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. The one bright spot has been in special elections for the House, where the party has won all seven elections, including one pick-up from Republicans.

That winning streak is likely to end Saturday as voters in Hawaii's 1st Congressional district choose a candidate to replace Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat who resigned to pursue his run for governor. State law for special elections there calls for a race in which all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run in a single election. The presence of two strong Democratic candidates -- former second district Rep. Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa, president of the state Senate -- is expected to result in the victory of Republican Charles Djou, a Honolulu councilman.

The inability of Washington Democrats to convince Case or Hanabusa to stand aside led to the decision by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to pull back all resources from the race. In the district where Obama grew up, and where Democrats far outnumber Republicans, the expected result Saturday will be an embarrassment for the party. But officials stress that while Republicans may enjoy a short-term benefit, this seat is almost certain to return to Democratic hands in November.

"I think everybody recognizes that the dynamics of this election are different than anything else," a Democratic strategist involved in the race said. "This is about a quirk in Hawaii election law."

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