Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case and state Department of Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Esther Kia'aina have added their names to be considered for the U.S. Senate vacancy created by the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye.
The Democratic Party of Hawaii's State Central Committee is set to meet Wednesday to recommend as many as three names for Gov. Neil Abercrombie to choose from in appointing a replacement.
The application deadline for prospective candidates is today.
Under state law, candidates must come from the same party as the prior incumbent, and the committee can choose only candidates who formally apply.
Case represented the 2nd Congressional District from 2002 to 2007. He has lost three bids to return to Congress in recent years, including in 2006 against Sen. Daniel Akaka and in 2010 for the 1st Congressional District seat. He also lost the 2012 primary against Mazie Hirono for Akaka's seat.
Kia'aina ran unsuccessfully this year against Tulsi Gabbard and others in the Democratic primary to represent the 2nd Congressional District. She was later named to the DLNR post.
Kia'aina said that she previously spent 20 years on Capitol Hill as an intern for Inouye and legislative assistant to Akaka before serving as chief of staff for two different congressman in the House of Representatives.
She most recently was chief advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have also applied to be considered for the Senate vacancy.
Inouye had sent a letter dated the same day he died to Abercrombie, requesting that Hanabusa be named his successor. Should Hanabusa be the successful candidate, there would need to be a special election to fill her seat.
Abercrombie's appointment will serve until the 2014 election, when a special election can be held to elect someone to fill out the remainder of Inouye's term, which runs until 2016.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at email@example.com.