Hawaii’s Governor Appoints Lt. Governor To Replace Daniel Inouye

To the surprise of many political observers, Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie named his Lieutenant Governor to replace Daniel Inouye in the Senate:

HONOLULU —Gov. Neil Abercrombie picked Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz Wednesday to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the late Daniel K. Inouye.

Sources with knowledge of the situation tell KITV4 News that Schatz was a finalist along with Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and state Department of Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Esther Kia’aina.

In a letter to the governor, Inouye’s final wish was for Hanabusa to take his place in the Senate.

Based on Inouye’s letter, most political observers thought that Hanabusa was the frontrunner for the appointment, so this decision is somewhat surprising. Given that Schatz himself is only 40 years old, it’s fairly clear that this was not intended to be a “caretaker” appointment and that we will likely see a contested primary for the Democratic nomination for Senator in 2014.

FILED UNDER: 2014 Election, Congress, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tillman says:

    One wonders what the price of a Senate seat is in Hawaii nowadays.

  2. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Another white male in the Senate, one fewer minority there. Racist Democrats…

  3. al-Ameda says:

    With all due respect to Inouye, who cares what he wanted, it is not his senate seat to bequeath. That said, I’m sure that Republicans are shocked and disappointed that that the appointment wasn’t consonant with Inouye’s wishes.

  4. SKI says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: and here I thought Jews were a minority – articulately in Hawaii.

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @SKI: Jews and Asians don’t count as “minorities” any more — just look at college admissions policies. Native Hawaiians, though, do.

  6. That Other Mike says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Just when we thought you couldn’t get any dumber, you did. Congrats on passing that milestone.

  7. Tillman says:

    @downvoters: My mistake. Politics is a clean sport.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    Another white male in the Senate, one fewer minority there. Racist Democrats…

    Yes, it is so sad that the governor didn’t appoint a token minority…you know, like Republicans do…

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interested Party: Yeah, we even have our tokens appointing tokens. It’s awesome.

    But oddly enough, most of the minority conservatives have a record of some accomplishment behind them, while so many of the minority liberals… well, don’t. It’s almost like the minority status of the conservatives is largely irrelevant, while on the liberal side it’s an asset — sometimes their only asset.

    Jesse Jackson Jr., I’m looking at you.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Jesse Jackson Jr., I’m looking at you.

    Clarence Thomas, I’m looking at you.

  11. de stijl says:


    One wonders what the price of a Senate seat is in Hawaii nowadays.

    Alternate theory: Gov. Neil Abercrombie probably thought Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz was a pain in the ass to deal with, so he made him some other person’s problem.

    The “Promotion To Get Him / Her Out Of My Hair” theory of management. I’ve seen it in action.

  12. Sejanus says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Lol name one accomplishment by the guy who will replace Jim DeMint. And no, enacting unconstitutional policies which incur legal fees on the county council you serve in is not an achievement.

  13. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @Sejanus: You mean Tim Scott, who owns his own insurance agency and worked as a financial advisor?

    I realize that pales with the achievements of, say, Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL), who was a federal judge before being impeached and removed from office for taking bribes, but it’s still something…