Tag Archives: Daniel Inouye

The Politics of Appointments

In a previous post, I spoke to the issue of special elections and political appointments when an open seat to the United States Senate or House of Representatives arose.  With the death of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) on December 17, his seat will be filled by Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) in the form of a political appointment.  Under Hawaii law, the Democratic Party recommends three candidates to the governor.  He, then makes, the final decision.  Inouye was a kingmaker in Hawaiian political circles.  Even in his death, this still holds true.  Inouye sent a letter to Abercrombie before his passing, urging the Governor to appoint Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D) as his replacement after his death.  Hanabusa is up to the Senate position, but if she were approved by Abercrombie, her seat would then open up and lead to a special election.  Since Democrats out number Republicans in Hawaii, it is safe to assume that many Democrats would run to replace Hanabusa.  If that is the case, then it is possible that a Republican might win the open seat due to a divided Democratic vote.  The last Republican to hold that Congressional seat was Charles Djou, who won the seat in a special election after Abercrombie, then a Congressman himself, resigned to run for Governor.  Now it is up to the Democratic Party of Hawaii to decide on three possible replacements for Senator Inouye.  Who would you select to replace Senator Inouye?  Hanabusa?  Lt. Governor Brian Schatz?  Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann?