State to hold special election for remainder of Takai's term

Published: Jul. 20, 2016 at 4:30 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 20, 2016 at 10:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A special election to fill the remainder of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai's term will likely be held during the Nov. 8 general election.

Takai, 49, died Wednesday after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the person who fills Takai's remaining House term must be elected in a special election, legal experts said.

"For the House, it's always been the people's house and the executives have no play in that. And so it's always been required to have an election," said attorney Tony Gill.

That election can be held 60 days after the state's Chief Election Officer Scott  Nago or Gov. David Ige issues a proclamation for it. The earliest that would be is Sept. 18.

But Nago said it makes more sense to have the special election coincide with the general election.

"We can't hold it with the primary election but we're looking at holding it with the general election," Nago said.

Takai's term runs until Jan. 3.

The last time the state held a special election for a U.S. House seat was in 2010, when then U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie was elected governor.

The race cost about $620,000 but state elections officials said it won't cost that much this time.

Political analyst Colin Moore said the November date gives former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who is already running for Takai's seat, a big advantage.

"I don't think it's going to be a crowded field and I expect that Colleen Hanabusa will be the leading candidate for the special election," Moore said.

And if she is elected, Hanabusa will go directly to Congress after the general election -- two months earlier than other new members -- giving her seniority a boost.

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