Governor questions Inouye's 'dying wish'

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) is questioning the late Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D-Hawaii) “dying wish” to have Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) succeed him.

The governor told The Associated Press that he had received a letter marked “personal” from someone who identified himself as Inouye just before the senator died.

"I received that letter, ostensibly coming from Sen. Ino­uye himself, a half an hour before he died in Washington, D.C. Literally," Abercrombie told the AP. "Whether or not this could be construed as Sen. Ino­uye's dying wish — let me put it this way — is problematic."

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Abercrombie acknowledged that Inouye had repeatedly asked him to appoint Hanabusa, but said Inouye made that request when former Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) announced he would retire.  

"I think it was kind of created," Abercrombie said of the letter. "I don't dispute for a second it represented his thinking, but it's far from being a dying wish, sent from Washington and signed and sealed by Sen. Ino­uye in Washington." 

Peter Boylan served as Inouye’s deputy chief of staff at the time of his death, and now works as Hanabusa’s communications director.

“Obviously he didn't sit at the computer and type it up, but he dictated the contents of that letter in the week leading up" to his death, Boylan told the AP. 

Abercrombie decided to appoint Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to Inouye’s Senate seat after Inouye died at the age of 88 in December 2012. Inouye was the second-longest serving U.S. senator in history after the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). 

Schatz was previously Hawaii’s lieutenant governor. Hanabusa was elected to the House in 2010.