Report: Inouye’s replacement to be named on Wednesday

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie will announce a replacement for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D) seat on Wednesday, according to a report.

CBS News reports that a Democratic source says the governor wants to appoint a successor quickly so that a new Hawaii senator can take part in possible votes over a deficit deal to avoid January’s “fiscal cliff.”

Inouye, a nine-term senator, died last week at the age of 88. He was laid to rest on Sunday at a service in Hawaii, attended by President Obama and fellow senators.  

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Saturday urged Abercrombie to appoint a replacement with “due haste.”

“It is critically important to ensure that the people of Hawaii are fully represented in the pivotal decisions the Senate will be making before the end of the year,” said Reid in a statement.

Monday was the deadline for Democrats to file a letter with the state party acknowledging their interest in the seat. 

Abercrombie has given no indication of whom he would like to tap for the vacant seat. But before he passed away, Inouye wrote the governor and recommended that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) be named his successor. 

Hanabusa is widely seen as the front-runner for the post, but other possible appointees include former Rep. Ed Case (D), and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D), who lost his 2006 bid for Congress.

Reports did not specify which Democrats have filed a letter of intent.

On Wednesday, each of the applicants will speak to leaders of the state Democratic party, and the chairman will present Abercrombie a list of the party’s top three applicants. The source says Abercrombie intends to name his appointment later that day.

Inouye’s successor will serve two years, before a special election slated for 2014.

Inouye, who served in Congress since 1959, was elected to the Senate in 1962 and at his death was the second-longest serving member of the upper chamber in history.