Matsunaga eyes Case's seat
The former state senator is among eight possible candidates
The race for the 2nd Congressional District seat might get more crowded.
Former state Sen. Matt Matsunaga said he is giving "serious consideration" to running for the seat -- making him the eighth possible candidate to succeed U.S. Rep. Ed Case -- while Kauai state Sen. Gary Hooser formally filed to run for the seat yesterday.
"I believe I have the drive, the passion and the experience to make a positive difference," Hooser said in a statement.
Matsunaga, son of the late U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga, said, "I think it's fair to say that the fires of public service still burns strongly in me. I have always dreamed of representing Hawaii in Congress."
Matsunaga said he was out of town at the time Case announced his run for U.S. Senate against incumbent Daniel Akaka last month.
Matsunaga came in second to Case in 2003 with 30 percent of the vote for the seat, which represents rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.
Matsunaga said those numbers and the election results from his successful run for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor months before the congressional election showed strong support statewide for his candidacy.
Matsunaga was in the state Senate for 10 years when he decided to run for lieutenant governor.
The field is already crowded. State Sens. Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae) and Ron Menor (D, Mililani) and state Rep. Brian Schatz (D, Makiki) say they will run. Former City Councilman Duke Bainum, Councilman Nestor Garcia and former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono are among those who say they are interested in running.