Hanabusa looking like a House candidate

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s new fundraising missive seems a pretty clear sign that she’ll defend her House seat next year rather than jump into the cowded race for Daniel Akaka’s U.S. Senate seat.

An e-mail soliciting funds for her 2012 campaign didn’t exactly specify what office Hanabusa is seeking and she’s said she won’t make a formal decision until August, but the tone was clearly House-oriented.

She accused Speaker John Boehner and the Republican House majority of endangering Social Security, cutting health care, subsidizing big oil and threatening to shut down the government.

“Just imagine what Republicans will try if they control Congress in 2012,” she said. “I need your help to prevent that from happening.”

Hanabusa’s fellow U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case have entered the Senate Democratic primary and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is also looking at the primary in which the winner will likely face former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.

Hanabusa let Hirono beat her to the punch, and the conventional wisdom is that two liberal women would split votes and throw the advantage to the moderate Case. If Hannemann turns the race four-way, it could become a crap shoot.

Hanabusa’s safe course would be to keep the House seat that took three tries to win and wait to run for the Senate when 86-year-old Sen. Daniel Inouye retires.

But it’s the winner of the Akaka seat who will ultimately succeed Inouye as the state’s senior senator, and the deciding issue could come down to which candidate voters see as best qualified to to pick up the heavy lifting Inouye has long provided in bringing home the bacon for Hawai‘i.

It would be ironic if Hanabusa ends up the odd candidate out, as she has the most proven record of the group as a legislative heavy-lifter.

In her 12 years in the state Senate, she held every major leadership position and was the first woman to serve as Senate president. She knows how to work the levers of legislative power.

Case influenced major legislation in the state House and rose to majority leader, but the leadership role didn’t suit him and he stepped down after only two years to operate as a dissident.

Hirono was never considered a major player during her years in the Legislature, and none of the three has served in Congress long enough to leave a significant mark.

For Hannemann and Lingle, the only legislative experience was at the county council level, where both were viewed as more interested in priming their runs for mayor than doing legislative grunt work.

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4 Comments on “Hanabusa looking like a House candidate”

  1. Richard Gozinya Says:

    There is no one among the current crop of job-hopping politicians who can hold a candle to Senator Inouye. He is one of a kind when it comes to bringing home the bacon/pork.

    We’ll basically be choosing the lesser weasel, er, evil.

    As a State we need to accept that we will someday face a major case of Inouye Withdrawal Syndrome (“IWS”).

  2. Guido Sarducci Says:

    “It would be ironic if Hanabusa ends up the odd candidate out, as she has the most proven record of the group as a legislative heavy-lifter.”


    First she ‘lifted’ Margery Bronster out of office.

    Then she ‘lifted’ $75M of tax credits for Jeff Stone.

  3. el guapo Says:

    This Senate race is starting to look like the last race for governor, which was like a bad list submitted by the Regents Advisory Committee.

  4. David Shapiro Says:

    Nah, the regents advisory committee would have submitted only two candidates.

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