Senate races

Source: Hanabusa receiving ‘a lot of pressure’ to run against Abercrombie

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) is receiving “a lot of pressure” to run against Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) following his decision to appoint Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) to the Senate instead of her, a source close to Hanabusa told The Hill on Thursday.

“She’s getting a lot of pressure primarily to challenge Abercrombie,” the source said. “The public response has been overwhelmingly negative to what the governor did.”

{mosads}The source told The Hill that the pressure was coming from Democratic activists in the state as well as those close to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

Inouye, a titan of Hawaii politics, made a deathbed request before he passed away earlier this month that Hanabusa be named to his seat.

But Abercrombie had never been close with either Inouye or Hanabusa, and the source said Hanabusa had never expected to be chosen for the seat despite Inouye’s public request. Schatz and Abercrombie will both be up for election in 2014.

“The choice wasn’t unexpected but she was upset that Sen. Inouye’s wishes were not followed,” the source said.

The source also said that while he expected Schatz to face challengers in both the primary and general election, the pressure being placed upon Hanabusa was from those who wanted to defeat Abercrombie; he said he doubted the same support would be there if she decided instead to challenge Schatz.

“The pressure coming from people is to challenge the governor — Abercrombie did something actively bad, and all Schatz did was apply for the job,” the source said. “Abercrombie used him as his pawn. Schatz interfered but Abercrombie did something that a lot of people are still scratching their heads over.”

While the source said Habanusa was months away from making an official decision, it would be “hard for a politician to resist” the offers of money and support that Hanabusa has started to receive, and he expected there would be “continued pressure” to run.


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