The governor had a list of three names to work from: U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Schatz and Department of Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Esther Kia‘aina.
By selecting Schatz, Abercrombie avoids a special election to fill Hanabusa’s U.S. House seat. It also declares his independence from Dan Inouye, who had put Abercrombie in an awkward position by publicly stating his preference for Hanabusa prior to his passing.
On Twitter, Politico reporter Manu Raju says that Inouye’s office is “very disappointed” that the late senator’s choice of his successor was not honored.
And though she didn’t ascend to the seat, it’s remarkable that Esther Kia‘aina was recommended as a finalist for the seat. She finished poorly in a November race, but is clearly a favorite among party insiders. That’s quite an accomplishment.