Maui News

Governor Seeks Nominees to Fill Inouye Vacancy

December 18, 2012, 12:48 PM HST
* Updated December 18, 4:48 PM
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US Senator Daniel K. Inouye. File Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Governor Neil Abercrombie has issued a formal request to the Democratic Party of Hawaii on Monday, seeking a list of three nominees to fill the vacancy left by the passing of US Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

In the letter, addressed to Party Chairperson Dante K. Carpenter, the governor stated that the request is being made “with a heavy heart.”

“We want to remember and be thankful for all of the senator’s good works for the State of Hawaii and the nation. We will do that. However, the president and members of the 112th Congress are continuing their efforts to address fiscal and debt-reduction issues critical to the well-being of our state and the county …

“The people of Hawaii deserve to be fully represented in the debates and decisions the Senate will have on those matters in the coming days and weeks.”

According to federal law, when a vacancy occurs in the United States Senate, the vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term at the following state general election. The chief election officer shall issue a proclamation designating the election for filling the vacancy.

Pending the election, the governor shall make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy by selecting a person from a list of three prospective appointees submitted by the same political party as the prior incumbent. According to Hawaii Revised Statutes, the party has up to 21 days to provide the list of three nominees.


The appointee shall be a member of the same political party as the prior incumbent, and a resident of the state. The governor can appoint a person who is not and has not been a member of any political party if they have no party affiliation for at least six months immediately prior to the appointment.

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