Former Congressman Ed Case, D-HI (2002-2007) announced Sunday that he is apply for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death last Monday of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye.
“Our Hawai’i has never faced such a precarious position on Capitol Hill”, Case said in his letter sent to members of the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s Central Committee.
“I respectfully ask you to consider my experience, ability and commitment to take up and fulfill the challenge of serving as Hawaii’s next Senator, bot today and over the next decades.”
Case was a candidate for U.S. Senate in the Democratic Primary election, but he lost the election to Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, who went on to beat Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in the General Election.
The central committee, which meets December 26 at 8 a.m., will review the applicants and select three candidates to forward to Governor Neil Abercrombie. Abercrombie will then select the final appointment.
Case, who was in Congress from 2002 to 2007, served on the Committees on Budget, Education and the Workplace, Small Business and Agriculture, and as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus Tax Policy and Budget Task Force.
Case joins a growing list of applicants hoping to fill the Senate seat.
Also on Sunday, Esther Kia’aina, deputy director at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, announced that she also applied.
Kia’aina, 49, served on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for 20 years as an intern for Inouye before rising to chief of staff for two different congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“It would be a tremendous honor and privilege to serve the people of Hawaii in the U.S. Senate,” Kia’aina said. “With Senator Inouye’s passing and Senator Akaka’s imminent departure, it is important to ensure that Hawaii has the strongest representation possible in our nation’s capitol. With their exemplary leadership and accomplishments, I pledge to build upon their foundation and continue to fight for the people of Hawaii.”
Kia’aina, who is Native Hawaiian, was a candidate in Hawaii’s August 11 Primary Election for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District.
Besides Case and Kia’aina, U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, state Sen. Will Espero, D-Ewa Beach, attorney Toand Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard have all announced they applied for the position.
Before Inouye died last Monday, his staff said he sent a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie asking him to appoint Hanabusa to the position. The letter was delivered to Abercrombie the day Inouye died by private attorney Jeff Watanabe and business executive Walter Dodds.
Behind the scenes, Inouye’s supporters are reportedly pressuring the governor to appoint Hanabusa or Schatz to the position. If Abercrombie does not comply, Democrats say he could face either Hanabusa or Schatz in the 2014 Democratic Primary Election for Governor.
Whatever Abercrombie decides will have a lasting impact. Hawaii’s Senior Senator served for nearly 50 years in Congress. Typically, Hawaii’s Democrat congressional officials remain in office until they die or choose to not to run again.
U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who was in Hawaii for Inouye’s funeral, has asked the governor to expedite the appointment so the new member of the Senate can help in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, which begin again just after the New Year.