Three under consideration by governor for House seat

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday officially received the three names from the Hawaii Democratic Party to be considered for the state House District 9 seat left vacant by the appointment of Gil Keith-Agaran to the state Senate.

Abercrombie’s press secretary and director of communications, Louise Kim McCoy, said in an email Monday afternoon that Abercrombie had received the names and that the media will be informed when he makes the decision.

She did not release the three names, and in the past has said that it will be up to the Democratic Party and not the governor to the release the names.

Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Dante Carpenter confirmed Monday that the names were submitted to Abercrombie but indicated that it would be up to Abercrombie to release the names during the selection process, if he wanted to.

While Carpenter said that the party could release the names in the future, it would not disclose the names while the governor was in the process of making a decision.

Carpenter expects Abercrombie to make his decision probably before the state Legislature opens Wednesday.

“We don’t want Maui to be unrepresented or underrepresented,” Carpenter said via phone from Oahu.

“He (the governor) should be able to make a decision in the next day or two.”

State House District 9 encompasses Kahului, Puunene, Maui Lani and the old Sand Hills.

Keith-Agaran was appointed last week to fill the vacant Maui state Senate District 5 seat left open when Shan Tsutsui, who was elected to the seat, was appointed lieutenant governor on Dec. 27. Tsutsui, as state Senate president, was next in line to be lieutenant governor when the governor named then-Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to fill the U.S. Senate seat left open by the death of Daniel K. Inouye on Dec. 17.

The seven qualified Democratic candidates who submitted their names to be considered for Keith-Agaran’s seat were: James “Kimo” Apana, Anthony Lloyd Edington, Renee-May Kehau Filimoe’atu, Alan Fukuyama, Kallie Keith-Agaran, Joseph Pontanilla and Justin Woodson.

On Saturday, the Democratic Party District 9 council met with the candidates, and members each voted for three candidates. The top three vote-getters were then forwarded to party officials, who presented them to Abercrombie.