When Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) appointed Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), he ignited a budding Democratic Party firestorm. Sen. Inouye, before his death, communicated to the governor that his favored choice for a successor was Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1). Hanabusa, reportedly miffed for being passed over despite the esteemed Senator’s endorsement, is already beginning to rattle her political saber.
In an interview with KHON-TV in Honolulu, the congresswoman confirmed that she is considering a race against both Schatz and Abercrombie as well as running for re-election. In response to a direct question about her future political plans, Hanabusa confirmed that “… they will all be on the table,” in reference to campaigns for governor or senator.
“Underlying all of that is the fact that he (Sen. Inouye) felt that I would do right by Hawaii. It is that entrustment and that’s going to weigh very heavily in terms of what I do,” Rep. Hanabusa said. She continued that “… no one can also dispute the fact that it was like being entrusted with the thing he loved the most, and he loved this state.”
Sen. Schatz must stand for election in 2014 for the right to serve the balance of Inouye’s final term. The seat next comes in-cycle for a full six-year stint in 2016. Abercrombie is also up for re-election in 2014 and is clearly running. He already has amassed well over $1.3 million in his campaign account as he begins to oil his political machine.
With Hanabusa already going public about her political future, the Hawaii campaign cycle is obviously beginning early. Much more lies ahead.
For a time it appeared that the special election to replace South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R) in his now vacant House seat would become a race of national interest because both former Gov. Mark Sanford and his ex-wife Jenny Sanford were considering becoming candidates. You will remember that Sanford ended his gubernatorial career just after his international extra-marital was discovered, resulting in major national attention.
Though it does appear that Sanford will enter what is expected to be a large field of candidates for the post he once held for six years, his ex-wife will not. Ms. Sanford made official her decision not to enter elective politics, but did so with a surprising slap at House Speaker John Boehner (R). In her statement she said, “the idea of killing myself to run for a seat for the privilege of serving in a dysfunctional body under John Boehner when I have an eighth-grader at home really doesn’t make sense to me.”
The special primary will be held March 19 with a run-off on April 2 if no Republican or Democratic candidate wins an outright majority within their respective party elections. The special general is scheduled for May 7. The eventual Republican nominee will be the heavy favorite to succeed Scott.