Sen. Inouye has harsh words for Ed Case

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said he won't endorse in his state's Democratic Senate primary next year, but he had some harsh words for one candidate — former Rep. Ed Case.

Inouye, in a wide-ranging interview Monday with the Civil Beat, showed he's still unhappy that Case challenged Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) in the 2006 primary.

"Akaka was the incumbent. I had a good working relationship with him, and it was no secret. Mr. Case came to me, and I asked him, I said, ‘Are you running for the Senate?’ He says, ‘No.’ Forty-eight hours later, he announced, and in his headquarters were all [these] posters. And these posters are not made in 24 hours. It takes a little while to do this. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. But on something like this, straight to my face," Inouye said.

The nine-term lawmaker endorsed Akaka in that race, but now that Akaka is retiring, Inouye said he won't be involved in the race for the Democratic nomination.

"I’m not going to be involved in the primary. That’s been my rule all along, with exceptions. … Obviously, I’ve got my own choice. I may not share it with you," he told the paper.

Case has declared his candidacy. Democratic Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono said they are considering running. Former Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann are also thought to be mulling bids.

Hanabusa echoed Inouye's remarks about the lingering resentment against Case from his 2006 Senate bid in an interview with The Ballot Box earlier this month.

"When you look at the multi-cultural base of the community that we have there, it's something that probably does linger with a good portion of the Democratic base," she said.

Inouye was asked if he and Case had made amends.

"Well he came to see me and, you know, I let bygones be bygones. But I said something like, ‘When I get agitated and irritated, I might act up.' After all, I’m human, right? I can take a few blows. I’ll turn the other cheek. But I always remind myself there was only person qualified to be strung up on the cross. And I’m not the one."