UPDATE: Governor Requests Senate Nominees: Hanabusa Submits Application
***Updated 12/19/2012 at 5:45 pm on news of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa applying for Senate seat.
Governor Neil Abercrombie yesterday sent a letter to the Democratic Party of Hawaii requesting three nominees to fill Hawaii’s seat in the US Senate after the passing of Senator Daniel K. Inouye.
The letter, given to Hawaii Democratic Party Chair Dante Carpenter, the governor states:
“We want to remember and be thankful for all of the senator’s good works for the State of Hawaii and the nation. We will do that. However, the president and members of the 112th Congress are continuing their efforts to address fiscal and debt-reduction issues critical to the well-being of our state and the county …
“The people of Hawaii deserve to be fully represented in the debates and decisions the Senate will have on those matters in the coming days and weeks.”
The Democratic party now has 21 days to provide Abercrombie with a list of three nominees. The nominees must be members in good standing of the Hawaii Democratic party.
Gov. Abercrombie then has the authority to send one of those three nominees to the US Senate, where they will serve until the following election in 2014.
Hawaii law states that should a senator not be able to complete their term, the governor shall then appoint a successor to fill their post until the very next election, giving that appointee no more than a two year term before facing re-election.
Congress is currently facing a December 31st “fiscal cliff” deadline, which if ignored, will trigger automatic spending cuts in excess of $1 trillion, an amount many economists estimate would send the nation into another recession.
The next US congress is scheduled to be sworn in at the nation’s capitol on Jan. 3, 2013.
Update: US House Rep. Colleen Hanabusa submitted paperwork to the Hawaii Democratic Party today applying to fill Sen. Inouye’s vacant seat.
Should Hanabusa be named to the post, a special winner-take-all election must be held to fill her vacancy in the US House of Representatives. Governor Neil Abercrombie, for his part, has not applied for Sen. Inouye’s seat.
In a letter written to Gov. Neil Abercrombie before passing away on December 17, Sen. Inouye had stated his preference for Hanabusa to replace him. In the letter, Inouye acknowledges not being able to complete his ninth term, writing:
“While I understand that selecting someone to serve out the remainder of my term is fully your responsibility, I respectfully request that U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa succeed me…”
Inouye’s preference is expected to weigh heavily on Democrats, as the late senator described the letter to Abercrombie as his last request, writing:
“I hope you will grant me my last wish. God bless the people of Hawaii and God bless the United States of America”