Case, Hanabusa spar over election


POSTED: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Former Rep. Ed Case says Senate President Colleen Hanabusa cannot run for Congress while she is leading the state Senate. He called on her to pick one or the other.

After a small-business forum where he, Hanabusa and lone Republican Charles Djou spoke yesterday, Case said, “;I absolutely think she should make that choice.”;

“;It is inconsistent for her to want to run the Senate in a time of crisis for our state and want to run a full-fledged congressional campaign.

“;She should not do both at the same time,”; Democrat Case said. “;If she does do both at the same time, it is not because she thinks it is good for the state or the people, it is because she thinks it is good for her politically.”;

Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua) responded: “;Ed is wrong. Some of us can multitask and do more than one thing.”;

Djou, a City Council member, said Hanabusa “;is going to make the best judgment of whether Colleen should remain in the Senate or not.”;

The three are running in a special election that has yet to be scheduled to replace U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who says he will resign Feb. 28 to run for governor. If he does, state law requires 60 days' notification, so it could not be held until May 1 at the earliest.

Case argued yesterday that Hanabusa wants to delay the special election until long after the Legislature adjourns on April 29 because she is not well-known in the urban Honolulu 1st Congressional District.

“;She believes she needs more time to put her candidacy out to the 1st Congressional,”; Case said. “;She has never dealt in the 1st Congressional, she feels they don't know her, feels she needs a lot of time to build up her war chest and recognition.

“;She has been avoiding for months now the choice of running for Congress and stepping down from her presidency so she cannot be conflicted in her obligations,”; Case said.

Hanabusa answered that “;in the Senate, we have an expanded leadership team and leadership operates on a consensus model.”;

“;I don't know what he objects to other than the fact that as Senate president, I do get invited to things and I do hear things,”; she said. “;I think Ed was a representative when he ran for Congress, but he didn't have a leadership position, so there wasn't anything for him to step down from.”;

Robert Bunda is one state senator who can speak from experience. He is a former Senate president and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1996. He said it is possible to do both jobs, but makes winning an election difficult.

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“;Because you (as Senate president) are representing an institution, it is sometimes hard to put out your personal feelings on issues,”; Bunda said. “;Also, it is 24/7; your time is gone from your family and things you would want to do.

“;I would say if one is committed to running a race and winning it and having two jobs, trying to campaign and hold on to your present job is possible.

“;But if you really want to win that race, you really have to devote your time to it,”; said Bunda, who is expected to run for lieutenant governor this year.