U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii says she plans to run against fellow Democrat and incumbent U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in 2014, setting up a primary battle between two of the state's four federal lawmakers.
""I've made no secret of the fact that I have been considering my options for 2014. While it has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the First Congressional District and I have always done so to the best of my ability, I believe that I can do more to serve our state," said Hanabusa.
Hanabusa told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that she believes Hawaii voters didn't really have a chance to weigh in when Schatz was appointed to replace Sen. Daniel Inouye. Inouye died in December.
Hanabusa says she acknowledges Gov. Neil Abercrombie's right to appoint the seat, but disagrees with his pick of Schatz, who was then his lieutenant governor.
"My legislative skills and experience will allow me to fully address the many serious issues we face at the federal level. I believe that I can do the job that Hawaii needs now. We need strong, effective leadership today to help guide and shape the policies that will have a profound effect on our state. I look forward to giving the voters a chance to speak, and earning the privilege of representing our state in the U.S. Senate.," said Hanabusa.
The congresswoman says she doesn't see Schatz as a true incumbent or entitled to the seat.
Hanabusa says Hawaii's delegation became younger after Inouye died and that she has the most experience of any candidate.
"This race will not be about personalities. It will be about service, experience, and effectiveness. I look forward to the campaign, and to continuing to represent Hawaii’s voice and values in Washington," said Hanabusa.
KITV4 News will have an interview with Hanabusa that will air tonight at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
A campaign spokesman for Schatz released the following statement:
"As someone who grew up in Hawaii and today is raising his own family here, Senator Schatz is deeply invested in our state's future. In his first few months in the Senate, he has forged meaningful relationships, leveraged his budding Senate seniority, advanced legislation, and fought for initiatives that will positively impact Hawaii and the people of our state. Throughout the next 16 months, his service as Senator and his campaign will be about the kind of future we want for our families, our communities, and the next generation. We look forward to sharing the Senator's work and vision for Hawaii, and we welcome Representative Hanabusa to the race."
Schatz has received endorsements from: the Hawaii Firefighters Association, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 480, Hawaii Building & Construction Trades Council, Plumbers Local 675, Elevator Constructors Local 126, Drywall, Tapers and Finishers Local 1944, Glaziers Local 1889, Boilermakers Local 204, Painters and Allied Trades Local 1791, IBEW Local 1186, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 132, Teamsters Local 996, Roofers Local 221, Iron Workers Local 625, IBEW Local 1260, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, League of Conservation Voters, Ocean Champions, the National Weather Service Employees Organization, and the Council for a Livable World.