Gabbard applies for Senate opening - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Gabbard applies for Senate opening

Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa
John Hart John Hart
Blake Oshiro Blake Oshiro
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Less than seven weeks after she won a seat in the U.S. House, Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard now wants to be a senator.

Gabbard threw her name into consideration for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye's seat, joining a crowded field of applicants that includes Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Gabbard announced her intention just hours before today's deadline.

"In the military, I learned that 'leadership' means raising your hand and volunteering for the tough, important assignments," she said.

"In that spirit, I place my name into consideration for the seat he filled so ably."

"I think it would be difficult. Remember, some people I think they're applying to be on the list. It's going to be very important in the future of the Democratic party in terms of standing to see who are the top three?" said political analyst John Hart.

The Democratic party's central committee will meet on Wednesday to select three finalists. According to sources, at least ten candidates have applied for the senate opening.

Besides the front-runners -- Schatz and Hanabusa -- applicants include former Congressman Ed Case, state senators Donna Mercado Kim and Will Espero, former lawmaker Blake Oshiro, attorney Tony Gill and Hawaiian rights attorney Esther Kiaaina.

Hanabusa is Inouye's hand picked successor and she said her Washington, D.C. experience is an advantage.

"These are very difficult and challenging times that we face and I believe that it is even more essential that we have someone who can hit the ground running and do a good job for Hawaii in senator's seat," said Hanabusa (D-Hawaii).

Kim (D, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter) also stressed her broad experience as a lawmaker.

"It's important because you don't have a lot of seniority and that you need somebody who can not only get along but is also going to be tough for Hawaii and is going to be able to stand up for the people here," she said.

Hart said it's likely that Schatz and Hanabusa will be on the short list.

"The other scenario is there has been so much lobbying from the Schatz camp and the Hanabusa camp that the governor is going to push back and to make it clear he's the boss, pick the number three candidate," Hart said.

So who are the frontrunners for that third spot?

"Case, presuming he can get through the central committee. Tulsi on the basis of this magnificent momentum she seems to have, and Blake Oshiro being the ultimate dark horse insider," said Hart.

The governor is expected to make his pick by Friday so that the person can be sworn in before a possible vote to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff."


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