The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a new ad in the special election for Hawaii’s First District, attacking Republican candidate Charles Djou — a strategy that has been necessitated due to the unique circumstances of this race.
The ad slams Djou, a Honolulu city councilman, for signing the no-tax increase pledge from Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform, which the ad construes as meaning that Djou would continue to support tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. But beyond the content, it’s clear that the DCCC must focus itself for now on going after the Republican, rather than promoting a Democratic candidate — because there is no single Dem in the race, and a split vote could theoretically help DjouÂ win the race.Hawaii special elections for the House don’t function according to the usual rules in other states, where candidates either compete in separate party primaries, or the parties select their candidates through some internal party committee process. Instead, a single-round election is held in which all the candidates appear on a single ballot, and the plurality-winner takes the whole thing. The election will be held on on May 22.
There is only one Republican on the ballot, Charles Djou, compared to two Democrats, former Rep. Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. Even in a district that President Obama carried with
73% 70% of the vote, the possibility exists that two solid Democratic campaigns could end up letting a Republican sneak in.
The DCCC is reportedly giving unofficial backing to Ed Case, who has come into the race with high name recognition — he previously made unsuccessful but very close Democratic primary campaigns for governor in 2002 and a 2006 primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Daniel Akaka. But for now, the DCCC’s initial word in the race is all about Djou, rather than mentioning Case or Hanabusa.
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