On Wednesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced the appointment of his Lt. Governor, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), to succeed the late Daniel Inouye in the U.S. Senate. Schatz will serve until a special election is held in 2014.
Other candidates for the senate seat were U.S. Representative Collen Hanabusa and Esther Kiaaina, a deputy director at Hawaaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. Inouye preferred that his successor be Hanabusa; his office was “disappointed” in the choice.
Under Hawaiian law, the governor must appoint a replacement from the same political party as the person who previously held the seat. The state democrat party sent a list of three choices to Governor Abercrombie, who had to choose from among those options.
In his 2010 campaign for Lt. Governor, Schatz stated he would prioritize clean energy jobs and was a supporter of Hawaii’s House Bill 444, legalizing same-sex marriage.
Schatz is a former state representative who was the leader of Barack Obama’s campaign in Hawaii. He is also the former chairman of the state Democrat party. He will be the eleventh Jewish U.S. Senator.