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Hirono announces she will run for Akaka's Senate seat

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:30 p.m. HST, May 19, 2011

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono told supporters today that she will run in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate next year to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who will not seek another term.

In a video posted on her campaign website, Hirono, 63, said she would be a strong voice for Hawaii, energy independence, public schools, early childhood education, and Medicare and Social Security.

"Together, we fought these fights in Congress. And together, you and I will keep fighting for Hawaii in the U.S. Senate," she told supporters.

The Hawaii Democrat will go up against former congressman Ed Case in a rematch of their primary for governor in 2002. Hirono edged Case in the primary but lost to Linda Lingle, a Republican who is also thinking about a U.S. Senate campaign.

A Hawaii Poll taken this month showed Case and Hirono in a statistical tie. Hirono, however, had the highest favorable rating of any of the potential Democratic and Republican contenders.

Hirono, a former lieutenant governor and state lawmaker, was elected to the 2nd Congressional District, which covers rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands, in 2006. She replaced Case, who left the seat for an unsuccessful primary challenge against Akaka.

The office of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa issued this statement today: “I appreciate that Mazie called me beforehand to tell me the news — and I wish her well. I am definitely considering a Senate run, but I am still evaluating all my options. I will make my decision when I feel it’s appropriate.”

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