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Hanabusa weighs U.S. Senate run; rents apartment in district

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 3:22 p.m. HST, Jun 10, 2011

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is assessing her grass-roots support and fundraising ability and will decide by August whether to enter the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate.

Hanabusa said she would also consider how Democrats might split their votes if she joins U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in the primary.

"This is an opportunity that I think everyone is giving serious consideration, and so am I," Hanabusa said of the chance to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. "My whole thing has always been, How can I best serve Hawaii?"

Some Democrats suggest a three-way primary might end up helping Case, a moderate, if Hirono and Hanabusa split the vote among establishment, labor and progressive Democrats.

Hanabusa does not necessarily agree with that scenario because she does not think Democrats are as polarized as some believe, but she is conscious of potential divisions and "who will take votes away from who."

"I think they're looking for balance," she said of primary voters.

Hanabusa said contenders would likely have to make a decision by August, a year from the primary.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, has said she would decide by August whether she will run for the seat.

Hanabusa also said Thursday that she has rented a place on Queen Street near her office in the federal building, satisfying a campaign pledge to move into her urban Honolulu district.

The congresswoman has been living at her house at Ko Olina.

Members of Congress are not required to live in the districts they represent, only the state.

"I am renting it. I am hoping that I can sell my house. I am fortunate that I can afford to rent. It is close so I can walk to work. I had to submit my paperwork and be accepted, but they accepted me and I sign tomorrow," Hanabusa said.


Star-Advertiser reporter Richard Borreca contributed to this report.

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