Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) Wednesday selected state Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy created by last week's death of veteran lawmaker Sen. Daniel Inouye (D).

With the fiscal cliff now just five days away and critical decisions facing the Senate, Schatz said he would fly to Washington immediately and be prepared to be sworn in on Thursday. 

Abercrombie chose Schatz, 40, a former state party Democratic chairman and state lawmaker, over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), who Inouye had indicated shortly before his death would be his preference to replace him.

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