Djou still weighing potential run for Takai's seat, but party already all in
Djou still weighing potential run for Takai’s seat, but party already all in
May 25, 2016 at 8:37 PM HST - Updated July 24 at 12:44 PM
Former Congressman Charles Djou hasn't yet decided whether he'll run for U.S. Rep. Mark Takai's seat. Nonetheless, Hawaii Republican Party leaders are already pointing to him as their best option for a competitive race.
"He's definitely head and shoulders above anybody else we could put up for that particular seat," said Fritz Rohlfing, Hawaii Republican Party chairman.
Rohlfing said he has been in contact with Djou, who is seeking feedback from family, close advisers, party members and potential donors.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last week, Takai (D-Hawaii) announced he would not run for re-election in November so he could instead focus on fighting cancer.
Rohlfing said Djou’s experience as a former congressman and strong name recognition give him a fighting chance.
"The short notice makes it difficult, but it makes it even more imperative that we get somebody that's already well-known and has a track record and he fits the bill perfectly," he said.
Hard-line conservatives aren't so enamored with Djou.
"From our point of view he's a terrible candidate. He's a fake Republican," said Eric Ryan, of the Hawaii Republican Assembly, a conservative super-PAC. "To find differences between Charles Djou and a mainstream democrat, you'd need a microscope to find the differences."
But the party and the super PAC do agree on one thing: Djou has the best chance of any Republican for Takai's seat.
"Is it too late for someone else? Yes," Ryan said.
That's why the party is all-in on Djou -- even before he makes an announcement.
They point to an energized base as a reason to believe Djou, f he runs, has a strong chance of winning.
"Given that we have a presidential campaign, I think this actually helps Charles because I think there will be more Republican voters voting in this election because it is a presidential cycle," he said.