Hanabusa Supporters Say Leadership Beats Seniority

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Two former Hawaii governors, a former chief justice and a former U.S. senator heartily and publicly endorsed Colleen Hanabusa for Senate Tuesday, arguing that leadership trumps Senate seniority.

The congresswoman is the person the late Daniel K. Inouye very much wanted to succeed him, and is in a competitive contest with the man Gov. Neil AbercrombieBrian Schatz — appointed to take Inouye's place following his death in December.

Inouye's name was evoked frequently at the campaign event, which about 150 people attended at Bishop Museum.

In attendance at the Atherton Halau were political heavyweights like Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Big Isle Mayor Billy Kenoi, former Sen. Daniel Akaka, former Govs. George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano, retired Hawaii Chief Justice Ron Moon and retired banker Walter Dods.

OK, more shameless name-dropping: state Sens. Will Espero — said to be gearing up for a run for the seat Hanabusa is vacating — Michelle Kidani, Donovan Dela Cruz and Jill Tokuda; state Reps. Marcus Oshiro, Ryan Yamane, Jo Jordan, Sharon Har and Scott Nishimoto; former legislators Bob Nakata, Sam Aiona and Annelle Amaral; party photographer extraordinaire George Waialeale, Inouye's longtime chief of staff Jennifer Sabas and Inouye's widow, Irene Hirano Inouye and son Ken Inouye.

The parade of luminaries was intentional: to show that Hanabusa attracts a powerful following, and to persuade others to join the team.

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