Open U.S. Senate Race Rare in Hawaii

Jesse Broder Van Dyke

UPDATED 5/31/11 9:14 a.m.

The race to fill the vacancy created by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka in 2012 is shaping up to be the most competitive in years.

First Ed Case declared, then Mazie Hirono and perennial candidate John Carroll.

Linda Lingle says she'll decide by late August, while Colleen Hanabusa hasn't ruled it out.

No word yet from Mufi Hannemann and Brian Schatz. If Lingle takes a pass, expect to hear from Charles Djou or James "Duke" Aiona. Other pols are said to be mulling over a run as well.

Why all the fuss from Democrats, Republicans and third-party candidates? Because there is no incumbent in the race.

Indeed, the last time Hawaii had an open Senate seat was in 1976 — 35 years ago. Lt. Gov. Schatz was just 4 years old.

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