Hawaii Democrats pick three finalists for deceased Sen. Inouye's replacement

Hawaii's Democratic Party executive committee has chosen the three finalists to fill the Senate seat left open by Sen. Daniel Inouye's (D-Hawaii) death: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) and former House candidate Esther Kia'aina (D).

The committee was required to pick three candidates and submit them to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), who has the final say on who will fill the seat.

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Shortly before his death this month, Inouye wrote to Abercrombie requesting that Hanabusa be chosen to replace him. The former senator is beloved by Hawaii Democrats and his dying wish is expected to hold much sway, though Abercrombie is reportedly closer to Schatz.

Abercrombie is expected to make a decision quickly so the senator can be sworn in and participate in pending votes on the "fiscal cliff." The Hill has confirmed the committee's choices.