Hannemann says Inouye asked him to run for governor
U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye has not endorsed a candidate for governor in 2010, but his staff does not dispute Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s claim that the senator has urged him to run.
Hannemann, who has not officially declared his candidacy but is raising money for a possible campaign, said at a fundraiser in Waikiki last night that Inouye had encouraged him to run in the Democratic primary.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, has declared his candidacy and his aides have been working behind-the-scenes to tamp down speculation that Inouye, the state’s top Democrat, was backing Hannemann.
“The senator encourages lots of candidates to run for office,” Inouye’s spokesman, Peter Boylan, said today from Washington, D.C. “Encouraging people to participate in the Democratic process is critical to ensuring healthy competition and healthy competition is good for the Democratic Party. It strengthens the party’s ranks and adds depth to the party’s bench.
“The senator has not officially endorsed any candidate for governor.”
The Democratic Party typically does not endorse in primary campaigns and top Democrats often straddle the line of an official endorsement even when clearly favoring a particular primary candidate.
Hannemann’s comments, first reported today by the Star-Bulletin, could have an influence on potential donors swayed by the perception that Inouye is supporting the mayor.
“Senator Inouye's statement that he is not endorsing any candidate for governor speaks for itself,” said Laurie Au, campaign spokeswoman for Abercrombie. “We respect the senator's decision to remain neutral.”