She hasn’t filed the papers, but sources close to Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s camp say it’s official. She will go head-to-head with Sen. Brian Schatz in next years Democratic primary.
“You have a senate race between an incumbent Democrat and an incumbent Democrat, it used to be incumbents didn’t run against each other in the post Inouye world that’s different,” says political analyst and Hawaii Pacific University Communications Department Chair.
Different, but somewhat expected Dr. Hart says.
Hanabusa was the late Senator Daniel Inouye’s pick for this seat as his replacement. Gov. Neil Abercrombie instead moved his then Lieutenant Governor Schatz into that spot. Now the two will go head-to-head to have Hawaii voters decide.
“I believe we are seeing a lot of the internal dynamic, fighting in the Democratic Party, what’s unfortunate is I think that’s taking precedence over the will of the people,” Republican Party Chairman David Chang said.
A battle turned blessing for the Hawaii Republic Party.
“Their in-fighting will be a blessing for us, it’s an open seat, we’ve got great candidates and I believe we can take the seat,” Chang said.
Hanabusa’s run will mean an open House seat in Washington D.C. She can finish out her term, which expires in 2014, while running for Senate or she can resign early and focus on the campaign.
“Which means a special election in 2013, so whether a House election in 2013 or not that’s up for grabs,” Dr. Hart said.
He expects either way everyone who’s anyone will throw in their hat.
“Djou will obviously run. There are other Republicans that could run, is Lingle interested in Washington? Is it Stanley Chang’s time? People will say he’s too young. I’ve got one answer to that… Tulsi,” says Dr. Hart.
Hanabusa was considering a run against either Schatz or Gov. Neil Abercrombie. But it appears she’s in it to win it in Washington.
The Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii says he wishes Hanabusa well.
Sen. Schatz’s campaign released the following statement:
“Senator Schatz is working diligently in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the people of Hawaii. There’ll be plenty of time to focus on politics once the race actually takes shape.”