Hawaii Gov. Picks Brian Schatz to Fill Inouye's Seat

But it goes against late senator's 'last wish'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2012 7:00 PM CST
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie speaks at the Japanese Cultural Center, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 in Honolulu.   (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
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(Newser) – The late Sen. Daniel Inouye's seat has been filled—although his replacement goes against Inouye's "last wish," the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie today chose Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, a former leader of the state Democratic Party, to take Inouye's vacant seat in Washington. Schatz described himself as "honored" and "humbled' by the position. But Inouye—before dying of respiratory complications last week—had asked that Abercrombie choose US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Hanabusa was in contention along with other state officials, but Abercrombie picked Schatz after hearing from more than 12 candidates this morning. "Sen. Inouye conveyed his final wish to Gov. Abercrombie," said Inouye's chief of staff, the AP reports. "While we are very disappointed that it was not honored, it was the governor's decision to make." Schatz, 40, will serve at least until 2014, when voters will elect a senator to complete Inouye's six-year term ending in 2016. Schatz said he will be sworn in tomorrow so he can join Democrats on votes regarding the fiscal cliff. (Read more Daniel Inouye stories.)

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