National eyes on Hawaii congressional race - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

National eyes on Hawaii congressional race

Rick Norris Rick Norris
Dante Carpenter Dante Carpenter
Jonah Kaauwai Jonah Kaauwai
Dan Boylan Dan Boylan
President Barack Obama President Barack Obama

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Washington is watching - the congressional race is getting so much attention, even President Obama is getting involved.

On Tuesday at 5:00 PM he released a pre-recorded phone message, urging Hawaii residents to vote Democratic.

At the Hawaii Democratic Party headquarters, members of President Obama's grassroots group, Organizing for America, were busy phone banking. The Party says President Obama's recorded phone call boosts their efforts. Interestingly enough, Republicans also see his involvement as a positive sign.

"Aloha, this is President Barack Obama" is how the robo-call starts out.

"At first I thought it wasn't real," said Rick Norris, an Ewa Beach resident.

The President's phone message goes on to say,"I need a Democrat that will support my agenda in Congress...it's crucial that you vote and that you vote Democratic."

"I'm glad to see that the Honorable President is reaching out in a way that he can to bring home the bacon so to speak," said Dante Carpenter, Democratic Party Interim Chair.

"I think it's a reflection that this race is so exciting right now," said Jonah Kaauwai, Republican Party Chair.

The President's push in Hawaii's congressional race, comes on the heels of recent polls showing Republican Charles Djou in the lead over Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa.

Even national media is zeroing in, with Djou recently appearing in shows like Fox News and Hannity.

"It's amazing that the media here in Hawaii has not been covering this as much as national," said Kaauwai.

"I'm just a little college professor and I've had calls from The Hill, the magazine on Capitol Hill, from Politico, and Congressional Quarterly," said political analyst, Dan Boylan.

Boylan says Hawaii hasn't seen this kind of national exposure since the Senate race in the early 90's between Pat Saiki and Daniel Akaka.

"I remember German magazines came over to interview us," said Boylan.

Boylan says even if Djou wins the special election, his time in Congress may be short lived. He'd still have to run again in the November elections, giving Democrats a chance to win back the congressional seat - that's if the special election on May 22 falls in Djou's favor.

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