Here’s the take of the PBS Newshour on Hawaii’s open senate seat, broadcast last night.
Let’s move to another state and Hawaii. Very dramatically, last week, Senator Daniel Inouye died. And in a letter written to the governor, who gets decide who picks his seat, he actually stated his preference about who he wants to succeed him.
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI: Yes, he did.
There are a lot of interesting elements with this. And one thing, it actually is very similar to what happened when Teddy Kennedy passed away in Massachusetts. In fall 2009 — or actually in summer 2009, he sent letter to Deval Patrick saying basically that he really wanted them to change the law in Massachusetts so that somebody would be able to fill that seat during the critical time when they were debating health care reform.
And then somebody would run for the special election. Well, in Hawaii, basically, what Daniel Inouye said was, I really want someone to be able to fill my seat. And I really hope that is Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who has not been there very long. He’s very close to her. He said that he felt that she would represent him with fervor, represent the state with fervor and sort of be in his own mold.
And he said he respectfully requested that. What is interesting about this is Gov. Abercrombie, a former member of Congress himself, didn’t release that letter. The senator’s — the late senator’s office is the one who released that letter. There’s some political pressure going on and it’s essentially as they’re having this fiscal cliff negotiation, so that is why it mirrors 2009.
GWEN IFILL: Gov. Abercrombie, Shira, is it a slam-dunk that Colleen Hanabusa, who was on the dying man’s lips practically, gets this job or are other people still trying to figure a way in?
SHIRA TOEPLITZ: Well, what’s going to happen this week is the Hawaii Democratic State Central Committee is going to meet.
And they’re going to give, according to state law, the governor three names of people who he could appoint to the seat. As long as Colleen Hanabusa makes that list — and it is looking very, very likely that she will — the governor will most likely appoint her. It would be very difficult for the governor to ignore such a legend as Daniel Inouye’s last and final wish to appoint this woman to his seat.
Interesting take, although I don’t think that Gov. Abercrombie will feel locked in by the Senator’s recommendation.
But we’ll see very shortly.