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Hanabusa readies run for Abercrombie's seat


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POSTED: Thursday, August 06, 2009

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa is expected to announce this month that she will run for the urban Honolulu congressional seat to be left vacant by U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who is running for governor.

Hanabusa declined to talk about the campaign, but rumors about the decision were fueled by a July trip Hanabusa took to Washington, D.C.

A key Hawaii Democratic strategist, who met with Hanabusa in Washington, said he helped introduce her to Democratic strategists and political advisers in Washington.

“;I assume she will have a great deal of support from organized labor, women and consumer groups,”; said the strategist, who asked not to be identified.

Another Democratic adviser said Hanabusa is ready to announce a congressional campaign. The campaign takes Hanabusa out of the race for governor, leaving the Democratic primary in that race to Abercrombie and possibly Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Hanabusa is a labor attorney and has been in the state Senate, representing Nanakuli and Waianae, since 1998. She has run unsuccessfully for Congress twice before.

If Hanabusa does throw her hat in the ring, she would be wooing voters in a new district that runs from Hawaii Kai to Waipahu, excluding her strong base of support on the Leeward Coast. Already in the Democratic primary for the congressional seat is former U.S. Rep. Ed Case.

City Councilman Charles Djou is the major GOP candidate in the race.

But the strategist said a Hanabusa campaign is expected to generate “;a great deal of enthusiasm and will get support from some of the major political leaders in the state.”;

Hawaii's Sen. Dan Inouye has held several meetings with Hanabusa here and in Washington. At Inouye's request, Hanabusa ran the local Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.