Hawaii 1st District
The landmarks for visitors to Honolulu are the Hickam Air Force Base, the Arizona monument in Pearl Harbor, the downtown area, with its wondrously Victorian Iolani Palace, and, of course, Waikiki, with its 40-story hotels rising within a few feet of each other. This part of Hawaii is tightly packed with people living between the 3,000-foot Koolau Range and the beaches and harbor, where tropical bungalows and garden apartments house Hawaiians of all incomes. Hawaii’s largest shopping centers and its state university are located here. Neighborhoods where the rich overlook the ocean are wedged next to poor enclaves where residents are crammed onto clogged streets. Hawaii’s topography jams cars onto just a few freeways and avenues, where traffic slows during rush hour and the aloha spirit is sorely tested. High taxes and high land and utility costs have limited growth. And although tourism remains brisk, the recession hit here early, resulting in declining hotel occupancy. Homelessness grew, and Aloha Airlines went bankrupt, ending its passenger service in March 2008. The military remains an important presence on Oahu. Hickam is home to eight C-17 Air Force cargo carriers that can transport 20-ton armored Stryker vehicles.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
All of these areas are in the 1st Congressional District of Hawaii. It is an area of well-established neighborhoods, and with little land left to develop, it is growing less rapidly than the rest of the state. Politically, the neighborhoods around Honolulu’s downtown and the university campus are middle and lower income and usually Democratic. To the west, around the harbor, are many military families in modest neighborhoods who may vote for Democrats but can be attracted to Republicans. To the east, past Waikiki, around Diamond Head, and out to the Kahala and Koko Head beach areas, is higher-income territory that often votes Republican. Asians are 59% of the population in Honolulu. Favorite-son Barack Obama, who was photographed bodysurfing at Sandy Beach prior to the Democratic National Convention in August, reigned supreme here in 2008, when he got 70% of the vote in Honolulu County.