But Djou almost regained the district in 2014 after Hanabusa left to unsuccessfully challenge nominee Senator Brian Schatz in the primary. Large external groups on both sides a serious amount of money spent on the competition but Democratic State Rep. Mark Takai held on 52-48 in the midst of another GOP wave.
Takai announced in 2016 that his fight against pancreatic cancer would prevent him from running for re-election. Hanabusa, who received Takai’s recognition shortly before his death that summer, regained her old seat with minimal opposition but left again in 2018 to launch an ultimately-failed major bid against Governor David Ige. This time the main winner was Case, who had no problems in the general election this year or that.
In contrast, the more rural 2nd District, which includes the rest of Honolulu and Hawaii’s other islands (known locally as “Neighboring Islands”), has been in Democratic hands for decades. One of its former representatives is Case, who was elected there in a 2002 special election but gave up the seat four years later to make an unsuccessful main bid against Senator Daniel Akaka.
That year Senator Kai Kahele won the primary and general election to replace MP Tulsi Gabbard, who ran for president. Kahele had put together a serious campaign operation to face Gabbard, who for months kept local politicians from guessing whether she would seek re-election. So he had a huge head start on potential major enemies when she finally decided to end her and not naming anyone of importance bothered to challenge him.
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