Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie appoints Lt. Gov. Schatz to fill U.S. Senate vacancy

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December 27, 2012

Hawaii

By Greg Janetka

HONOLULU, Hawaii: Yesterday, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) appointed his lieutenant governor, Brian E. Schatz, to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy left by Daniel Inouye's death on December 17. The appointment was somewhat controversial as prior to his death Inouye asked Abercrombie to appoint U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) to the seat.

Following the appointment, Inouye's chief of staff Jennifer Sabas stated, "Sen. Inouye conveyed his final wish to Gov. Abercrombie. While we are very disappointed that it was not honored, it was the governor's decision to make. We wish Brian Schatz the best of luck."[1]

Per state law, the Hawaii Democratic Party sent Abercrombie a list of three potential replacements to chose from - Schatz, Hanabusa, and deputy state Land and Natural Resources Director Esther Kiaaina. Schatz was said to have received the most votes from the party's central committee.[2]

Inouye's death set in motion a series of events which continues to unfold. With Schatz moving to Congress, that leaves the position of lieutenant governor vacant. Per the Hawaii Constitution, the state senate president -- Shan Tsutsui (D) -- is the next in line for the job. However, Tsutsui has indicated that he may not be interested in the position. If he does chose to take the job, that will leave a vacancy in the Hawaii State Senate, which is filled by an appointment from the governor.[3]

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