“Ed Case Image”

Hawaii politics just got a great deal more interesting.

Congressman Ed Case, D-Hawaii, Second District, announced today that he will challenge State Sen. Daniel Akaka in 2006 for his Senate seat. Case, 51, says he called the 81-year-old Senator earlier today to inform him of his plans.

Case’s decision will likely mean that several sitting politicians will bid for his highly-coveted House position. He will also have to overcome what some old time Democrats consider an irreverent move – a member of his own party challenging the Senior Senator to his seat.

First elected to Congress in 2002 when then Hawaii Congresswoman Patsy Mink died, Case had just lost his bid in the primary election for the governor’s seat when he turned his attention to the national race.

Case was overwhelmingly re-elected to Congress in 2004. However he has never been shy about his plans to run for the Senate, though he had not confirmed publicly that he’d challenge the sitting senator.

Akaka has been in office since 1990 when he replaced Sen. Sparky Matsunaga, who also died while in office.

In an announcement to the media and to his supporters, Case wrote:

”’Aloha! I am here today with Audrey to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.”’

”’Our Hawai’i has been served ably and with great distinction by generations of U.S. Senators, including Senator Daniel Akaka. Like all of our Hawai’i, I have the deepest aloha for Senator Akaka and truly honor his decades of selfless service.”’

”’But we all know that we are in a time of transition in our Hawaii ‘s representation in Congress and especially in the Senate. This transition requires that we phase in the next generation to provide continuity in that service.”’

”’Doing so is especially vital for a small state like our Hawai’i, which depends greatly on its Senators’ seniority, experience and ability to work effectively with colleagues of differing backgrounds and philosophies. The last thing we want is for both of our Senators to leave office at the same time, with all of their accumulated seniority disappearing overnight, leaving our Hawai’i vulnerable while we build it anew from scratch. Instead, we should bring in the next generation now to build up seniority, experience and ability for as long as Senator Inouye serves, prepared to take over when he’s pau.”’

”’This is, I believe, my role, and this is where and how I seek to continue my service to our Hawai’i in our United States Congress. I am ready, willing and able to undertake this great responsibility. I love our country passionately and understand the tradition and role of the Senate. The sum total of my 53 years, including my roots in our Hawai’i, two decades in our private sector, and two decades now at all levels of our government including Congress, have given me what is required to fulfill this most important of obligations. I don’t believe any person could be better prepared to serve you and our fellow citizens well in the Senate over the next generation.”’

”’But the decision of Hawaii’s voters is the only one that counts, and I will be going back out to them to talk story about our mutual hopes and dreams for our Hawai’i, country and world and how I believe I can best advance them in our United States Senate. I will also continue to do my very best, as I have for more than three years now, to represent the people of Hawai’i in the U.S. House of Representatives for the duration of my current term.”’

”’With this announcement, I also confirm that I will not be a candidate for reelection to the U.S. House from Hawaii’s Second District. In the coming weeks, I will be outlining what I have come to believe it takes to represent my great home district in Congress, and I am looking forward to a spirited campaign for my seat and to assisting the voters of that district in making the right decision.”’

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