Djou, Takai square off in final First Congressional District debate

Djou, Takai square off in final First Congressional District debate
Published: Oct. 13, 2014 at 2:05 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 13, 2014 at 2:21 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Congressional candidates Charles Djou and Mark Takai traded jabs Sunday night in their final face-off on Hawaii News Now.

Open seats in Congress are rare in Hawaii, so the battle for the 1st congressional district is historic.

In a no holds barred style debate, the two veteran politicians knew exactly what they wanted voters to hear.

The two are usually very calm and cordial to each other. But Sunday night, things got a bit fiery.

Republican Djou spent seven months in Congress four years ago and says that brief seniority, and a seat in the Republican House majority, is good for Hawaii.

"Now it's more important than ever that we elect somebody on both sides so we make sure Hawaii's interests are protected," said Djou.

"The reason why we were so successful was because we had a unified team. We've got to work together. We only have two members of the House and two members of the Senate. It doesn't seem right for me, for my perspective, to have two members of the House voting on two different sides," Democrat Takai said.

Takai used Djou's brief voting record against him, to paint him as a conservative, out of sync with Hawaii's values.

"He voted against the state budget when he was a state legislature and voted against every single city and county budget when he was a councilmember. That is not a centrist. That actually is an obstructionist," said Takai.

Contrary to his usual stance, Djou said he might vote for a tax increase, but only if essential.

"Do not look at the people as an endless cash machine that you can just constantly go to," Djou said.

The two military veterans also disagreed about how much the U.S. should be involved in Middle East wars, and how to protect social security, and the best way to grow Hawaii's economy.

When asked if either of them won Sunday night's debate, they both answered the same.

"Well I'll leave that judgment up to the people of Hawaii. I feel pretty good about it though," said Djou.

"It's not my decision. We have a little bit more than three weeks to go and we're going to work hard," Takai said.

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