The Washington Post

Colleen Hanabusa launches Senate campaign

The first Senate primary of 2014 is on: Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa will challenge Sen. Brian Schatz in Hawaii.


Colleen Hanabusa is running for Senate. (Marco Garcia/AP)

"We need strong, effective leadership today to help guide and shape the policies that will have a profound effect on our state," she said  in a statement. "This race will not be about personalities. It will be about service, experience, and effectiveness."

Schatz was appointed to the Senate in January by Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) to serve out the term of the late Daniel Inouye, against the dying senator's last wishes. The decision came as a surprise. Aside from Inouye's influence, Hanabusa was considered "next in line" for the spot.  She also knows Washington and has cultivated relationships on Capitol Hill, something she alludes to multiple times in her statement.

On the other hand, former Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will have had two years in the Senate by the time 2014 comes around, he's been raising money, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will support him in the primary.

Racial politics will be a factor in the race; Hawaii is  26 percent white and primaries are often split by race.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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