Espero will not run for Congress


POSTED: Saturday, February 06, 2010

Citing the short time frame and his loyalty to the Democratic Party, state Sen. Will Espero says he has decided against running in a special election to replace U.S. Neil Abercrombie in Congress.

“;Ultimately, I'm thinking of the party as well as what's best for myself and my supporters,”; Espero said yesterday.

Espero said he will concentrate on seeking a third term to his Senate seat representing the 20th District, Ewa-Honouliuli-Ewa Beach.

Last month, Espero, who lost a state House race as a Republican in 1992 before switching to the Democratic Party, said he would explore the possibility of running in a special election to succeed Abercrombie.

Abercrombie plans to resign from his 1st Congressional District seat on Feb. 28 to concentrate on his run at the Hawaii governor's office. His resignation triggers a winner-take-all special election open to all candidates regardless of party affiliation.

Elections officials say a special mail-in vote could be held as early as May.

“;Usually when you run for Congress, you'd like a year or two to plan, and we would be condensing an election cycle into about 10 weeks or so,”; he said.

The race already includes former U.S. Rep. Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, both Democrats, against lone Republican challenger Charles Djou, a Honolulu city councilman.

Espero would have added a third Democrat to the mix.

“;There wasn't party pressure, but there were individuals who expressed concerns over so many Democrats running and diluting the Democratic vote,”; Espero said.

“;If there are other opportunities in the future, we'll look at those,”; he added. “;Despite my strong and intense desire and enthusiasm to jump into that race, I think it's best that we wait for another opportunity.”;