Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, died Tuesday evening from respiratory complications, according to a statement by his Senate office. The 50-year Senate veteran had been hospitalized last week.
Inouye's death creates a vacancy in the Senate that will be filled by a gubernatorial appointment, though Hawaii law puts a few hoops in front of Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie that aren't there in other states. The Hawaii Democratic Party will select three potential nominees for Abercrombie to consider, and he will choose one from that list to fill the seat until the November 2014 general election.
Inouye had represented Hawaii, first as a House member and then as a senator, since the islands became a state in 1959, and Hawaii's all-Democratic congressional delegation is now especially green without him. Sen.-elect Mazie Hirono (who is about to replace long-time Sen. Daniel Akaka) served three terms in the House, and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is completing her first term. Hirono's House seat is about to be filled by a new freshman, Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard.