Word's Out: Hirono To Run For U.S. Senate

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UPDATED 5/19/11 1:17 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Daniel Akaka next year.

Hirono, 63, has held Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District seat since 2007. She previously served as lieutenant governor.

Hirono said in an email Thursday that since Akaka's announcement that he was stepping down, she has been urged by longtime supporters to run:

Thoughts and well-wishes have come from every island: I'm humbled and inspired by the support I've received from Hawaii families.

Hirono's announcement is sure to shake up the Democratic field for the Senate primary. A recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll showed her and former Congressman Ed Case neck and neck in terms of voter preference.

An announcement by Hirono will mean a vacant House seat, and viable candidates are sure to be considering their options.

It also means that Hawaii's other congresswoman, Colleen Hanabusa, may choose not to run for the Senate next year.

In a statement released this afternoon, Hanabusa said, "I appreciate that Mazie called me beforehand to tell me the news — and I wish her well. I am definitely considering a Senate run, but I am still evaluating all my options. I will make my decision when I feel it's appropriate."

Former Gov. Linda Lingle said this week that she would decide by late August whether to seek the Republican nomination.

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