Update: A shortlist of potential senate appointees leaked to the media did not include Tulsi Gabbard.
In her quest for the seat held by the late senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Congressman-elect Tulsi Gabbard (D) has gained a prominent supporter -- actor and former White House staffer Kal Penn.
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) December 26, 2012
Gabbard announced Monday that she was seeking the appointment to Inouye's seat. Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) will choose a replacement as early as Wednesday. Newark Mayor Cory Booker is also supporting her.
Inouye made clear before his death that he wanted Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) to take his place in the Senate. But the Honolulu Civil Beat explains that Abercrombie and Inouye didn't always see eye to eye and that the governor may prefer another candidate.
“In the military, I learned that 'leadership' means raising your hand and volunteering for the tough, important assignments,” Gabbard, an Iraq veteran, said in a statement Monday announcing her interest in the seat. “Senator Inouye did that as a young man, and he inspired a generation of young soldiers like me. Now it is our responsibility to step up, for the good of Hawai`i."
Gabbard was elected in November to represent Hawaii's 2nd congressional district, becoming the first Hindu American elected to Congress. Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) vacated that House seat to run for the Senate; she will replace retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D).
Penn served as associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement from 2009 to 2011. He was also a co-chairman of Obama's reelection campaign and, like Gabbard, spoke at this year's Democratic National Convention.
Inouye's successor will serve until a special election is held in 2014.