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Hope & Change Ripples Across the Pacific: Republican Wins ‘Obama’s Hometown’ for First Time in 20 Years

By Doug Powers  •  May 23, 2010 08:45 AM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

“GOP wins House seat in Obama’s Hometown” is the headline this morning, and it’s almost embarrassing enough to get even the president himself to deny he was born in Hawaii.

It’s been 20 years since a Republican won a congressional election in Hawaii’s District 1, but it’s taking only about a year and a half for Hope & Change to ripple across the Pacific:

Republicans scored a midterm election victory Saturday when Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou won a Democratic-held House seat in Hawaii in the district where President Obama grew up — the latest triumph for the GOP as it looks to take back control of Congress.

Djou’s victory was a blow to Obama and other Democrats who could not rally around a candidate and find away to win a congressional race that should have been a cakewalk. The seat had been held by a Democrat for nearly 20 years and is located in the district where Obama was born and spent most of his childhood.
Republicans see the victory as a powerful statement about their momentum heading into November. They already sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts — a place that was once thought to be the most hostile of territories for the GOP. Now Republicans can say they won a congressional seat in the former backyard of the president and in a state that gave Obama 72 percent of the vote two years ago.

Since almost every one of the Democrats Obama previously endorsed — Corzine, Deeds, Coakley, etc. (though based on Scott Brown’s performance so far I don’t consider Coakley’s loss to be a Republican win) — went down in flames, this time Obama didn’t endorse either of the two main Democrat contenders, so this loss can’t be directly pinned on the “Obama Curse.”

Here are the returns as of early this morning:


The top two Dems got 58% of the vote, so obviously the GOP still has their work cut out for them if they’re going to retain the seat in November, but the trend is assuring if you’re a Republican. In 2008, Obama won 70% of Hawaii’s 1st district, and McCain 20%. In that district’s House election in 2008, the Republican only received 17.4% of the vote. A Republican (and a conservative at that) now getting almost 40% of the vote in that district less than two years after “Hope & Change” swept in on promises of gumdrops, unicorns and rainbows for everyone can’t be very comforting to the DNC.

Even though the Democrats are going to cling to hanging on to Murtha’s seat and the fact that their voters were split between two candidates in Hawaii yesterday as evidence that voters aren’t turning on them, privately some of them are reaching for the Kaopectate.

Update: In comments, Chapoutier has a buzzkiller for those of us taking this election as a sign of unusual voter discontent:

The last time this seat was left vacant, which was when Abercrombie was first elected, the Republican in the race got 38.7% of the vote.

So all this alleged anti-Obama sentiment seems to be worth a whopping .7%!!!! Time for the GOP to break out the juice boxes and party down!

As an apples-to-apples comparison that’s a good reminder for Republican candidates not to rely on riding on any “Obama fatigue” coattails, but the Republicans don’t mind throwing in a few oranges to go with those apples:


Those numbers, combined with the fact that voter turnout was strong compared to the last special election in Hawaii, suggests that GOPers were motivated and the Democrats were less than stagnant, but we’ll see what happens in November. Maybe the Dems will be more motivated just as soon as their really expensive free health care never arrives.

In other news… did you notice something strange about President Obama’s speech at West Point yesterday? Obama pronounced “Corps” correctly without saying “corpse.” Yeah, it surprised me too. Hey, credit where credit is due. Well done, teleprompter programmer guy!

Or it could have something to do with the fact that the prompters look to be a lot closer than usual.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Media, Media Bias