Potential special election likely to attract crowded race

Potential special election likely to attract crowded race

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Voters can expect a mad scramble to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa if she is appointed to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

About half a dozen names are already being floated as potential candidates for the District 1 Congressional seat if Hanabusa vacates her house post, political analysts say.

"This is a sprint. It's not a long distance run. It's going to be a short election span," said Hawaii Pacific University Professor John Hart.

"So the person who can put the boots on the ground and the checks in the mail ... those are the people who can compete in this situation."

The 88-year-old Inouye, who died on Monday of respiratory complications, recently sent a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, urging him to appoint Hanabusa to fill out his term.

Abercrombie has given no hint about what he will do but many political sources say that Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz is also among those being considered for the appointment.

Schwartz's is also considered by many as a strong candidate for Hanabusa's seat if she gets the nod.

State campaign spending records show that Schatz has more money --- nearly $250,000 --- than others mentioned as potential House candidates.

They include former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann -- who lost in this year's District 2 congressional primary-- who still has $167,000 left in his campaign coffers and former Gov. Linda Lingle, who lost to Mazie Hirono in this year's Senate race, who has over $46,000.

Republican Charles Djou has over $16,000 while Democrat Ed Case has just $1,300 left.

State elections officials say there's no timetable for a special elections but they expects costs to exceed past special elections of one is held.

"The last one, it cost us $625,000, however, that was in an election year so there was some costs borne on the regular election," said Scott Nago, chief elections officer.

Democratic Party officials, meanwhile, are hoping that Inouye's successor is sworn in before the Jan. 3 start of the congressional session.

Under Hawaii law, the party recommends three candidates to the governor, who makes the appointment.

Party Chair Dante Carpenter said the Democrat's central or executive committees will meet a few days after Christmas and plan to forward their candidates to the governor before year-end.

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