Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin says he will resign March 15 to begin full-time campaigning for the 1st Congressional District seat representing urban Honolulu.
“I am stepping down as attorney general so that I can run for Congress with the same intensity and energy that I bring to working for Hawaii each day,” said Chin, 51, in a written statement released to the media this afternoon.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who now holds the urban Honolulu congressional seat that Chin is seeking, said last week Chin should resign from his job as the state’s top law enforcement officer to make his run for Congress.
Gov. David Ige released a statement last week saying he expects Chin will step down if that would be “in the best interest of the people of Hawaii.”
Hanabusa plans to vacate the 1st Congressional District seat representing urban Honolulu to challenge Ige for governor this year, and Chin announced last month he plans to campaign for the seat Hanabusa now holds.
Chin is the first sitting Hawaii attorney general to campaign for elected office, and said in an interview he carefully considered the concerns raised about potential conflicts of interest related to his campaign. He said he discussed those issues with Ige, but said Ige did not ask him to resign.
Chin was appointed attorney general in 2015, and political observers say he has been one of the Ige administration’s most prominent and popular figures among Hawaii’s heavily Democratic voters.
He established a national profile by filing a series of legal challenges to the policies of President Donald Trump, including Trump’s efforts to restrict immigration. Chin is the son of Chinese immigrants, and has said his legal contests with the Trump administration prompted him to run for Congress.