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Gabbard Joins Hunt for Hawaii Senate Appointment Gabbard Joins Hunt for Hawaii Senate Appointment Gabbard Joins Hunt for Hawaii Senate Appointment Gabbard Joins Hunt for Ha...

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Gabbard Joins Hunt for Hawaii Senate Appointment

photo of Julie Sobel
December 25, 2012

Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii will apply for the vacancy created due to the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye, she announced Monday.

"In the military, I learned that 'leadership' means raising your hand and volunteering for the tough, important assignments," the 31-year-old Democrat said in a statement. "Senator Inouye did that as a young man, and he inspired a generation of young soldiers like me. Now it is our responsibility to step up, for the good of Hawai`i. In that spirit, I place my name into consideration for the seat he filled so ably."

Gabbard joins a list of hopefuls including Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, former Rep. Ed Case and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz.

The Hawaii Democratic Party’s State Central Committee will meet Wednesday to create a list of three candidates for Gov. Neil Abercrombie to choose from. Hanabusa is considered the favorite due to Inouye telling the governor in a letter that his last wish was for her to succeed him in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Honolulu Civil Beat Monday took a look at the politics around the letter Inouye sent to Abercrombie, and why Hanabusa may not be a shoo-in:

The fact that he wrote it suggests he worried Abercrombie isn’t keen on Hanabusa.

It also speaks to the gravitas of the situation. There’s a strong likelihood that whomever Abercrombie picks will be in that seat for a long time.

Inouye wanted continuity and made sure everyone knew where he stood.


Still, just because Inouye said Hanabusa should succeed him doesn’t mean she’s the automatic replacement.


Abercrombie is said by several close to him to prefer other candidates over Hanabusa. They include Blake Oshiro, his deputy chief of staff, Brian Schatz, his lieutenant governor — even Ed Case, with whom he served with in Congress.


Though the governor greatly respected Inouye, the two weren’t exactly best friends. The senator urged Mufi Hannemann to run for governor in 2010 rather than back Abercrombie, who likely chaffed at the idea that he somehow get Inouye's permission to run.


Stay tuned -- we could find out Abercrombie's decision as soon as tomorrow.

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