Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Reason For Brian Schatz

I was initially perplexed when Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie nominated Lt. Gov Brian Schatz to fill Daniel Inouye's Senate seat, but after talking to some Hawaiians it seems to be a reasonable move. The other major option was Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was Inouye's choice. If Abercrombie had appointed her, though, there would've been a special election to fill her House seat. Until then, the seat would've been open, leaving House Democrats below full strength for important votes early in the next session, most likely including the fiscal cliff.

Also, there's some possibility that a Republican would've won the special election, since those special elections don't have primaries in Hawaii. In 2010, Neil Abercrombie vacated his House seat to become Governor. Republican Charles Djou then won a three-way race against Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case. The vote total was 39.4-30.8-27.6.  It's a perfect illustration of why two-party systems make sense. Nearly 60% of Hawaiian voters wanted a Democrat, but they were split evenly between two candidates, so the Democratic majority didn't get its way and a unified Republican minority won.

If Hanabusa wants to be in the Senate, though, she'll have an opportunity to run in 2014. I imagine that she'll be a formidable candidate, especially with Inouye's blessing upon her. 
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