(KHNL) It's the talk of the town. Congressman Ed Case is putting in his bid for Senator Daniel Akaka's seat. On the heels on his announcement, a handful of politicians were quick to throw their hats into the ring for Case's seat in the U.S. House.
The opportunity to serve in congress has enticed at least a half dozen local political figures to throw their hats in the ring.
In fact, the joke around the state capitol today was who's not running for Congress.
Congressman Ed Case's plans to leave the U.S. House of Representatives to run for the U.S. Senate creates an opportunity several local political figures find hard to resist.
State Representative Brian Schatz is known for championing environmental, economic and political reforms, things he says would serve Hawaii well on Capitol Hill.
"Others may be thinking in terms of this as a stepping stone. for me i want to be in the House of Representatives, I want to gather tenure on behalf of Hawaii and be part of the team and deliver for Hawaii," said Schatz.
Gary Hooser represents Kauai in the State Senate. He says he's ready to move up.
"I care very deeply about the community I live in, the 2nd Congressional District. I care about our state and I care about our nation" said Hooser.
State Senator Ron Menor was a driving force behind the state's gas cap and other consumer-oriented measures.
"I have authored and been responsible for landmark legislation that have made the difference in the lives of people throughout Hawaii," said Menor.
Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa says serving the Leeward coast has prepared her to go to Congress.
"Well I think the years I spent representing the Waianae coast, what was originally the 21st District gives me a good flavor of what it's like to represent the 2nd congressional," said Hanabusa.
Former Lieutenant Governor Mazie Hirono says she's planning to enter the race but will wait to make an official announcement.
City Councilman Nestor Garcia says he's also considering a run for Congress.
There are two people we know will not enter the race Governor Lingle said she and Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona will seek re-election this year and have no plans to run for any other office.
This race should create a lot more interest this year, and if voters do turn out in droves that would affect every other race from the governor to the state house.
Unseating an incumbent senator, especially one with Senator Akaka's experience is not easy. Those we talked to say they'd have to weigh the issues before making their vote.
It will be the people who determine if Representative Case should replace Senator Akaka.
"I think fresh blood is always good," said Kristen Brooks.
"I wouldn't advise it if i was working closely with him, i think Akaka is got a strong following and it would be very difficult to unseat an incumbent," said Jeff Lyons.
Akaka, 81-years old going on his sixteenth year in the U.S. Senate. Case, 53 years old, fourth year in the U.S. House. Both are Democrats.
Hawaii's senior Senator Dan Inouye advised Case to reconsider.
"I've heard a lot of people grumbling about the way he did it. but i think that Akaka's been wonderful in the Senate, but i think some change isn't a bad thing," said Brooks
Case agrees, but he's gonna have to do it without support from the party, party leaders, or those in Washington.
"I think Ed Case thinks he has a chance. I think it'll be difficult. I think he'll have to make his case to the public," said Lyons.
"Experience is always important, and Akaka knows Hawaii and knows from experience what people here need, but I think on the other hand, Case is a young guy, energetic and someone new might be good," said Brooks.
Congressman Neil Abercrombie says he also endorses Senator Akaka, calling him the Hawaiian heart of the Hawaii congressional delegation.