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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Before his death, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye wrote a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, recommending U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa succeed him, saying it would be a seamless transition.
On Monday, hours after Inouye passed away, Hawaii's Democratic Party said it would take his recommendation under consideration.
Chairman Dante Carpenter says that finding someone to fill Inouye's seat for the next two years begins with compiling a list of names.
"The individual must be a member of the Democratic Party. Credentials could be anything from community advocate to participant in any Democratic Party activities, including holding office," Dante Carpenter said.
The Democratic Party State Central Committee will be notified. It's made up of a group of about 80 members. They will recommend potential candidates, and the committee has 21 days to finish its work.
"The body collective would meet at some point in the future and they would make the choices. They would then determine the three candidates," Carpenter said.
Hawaii law requires three names to be submitted to the governor, who will then make the final decision.
Carpenter said the goal is to move the process along expeditiously.
"The Congress will basically open its doors in mid-January. If there's a possibility we can at least anticipate that, that will have to be our ultimate target," he said.
Political analyst Dan Boylan said four names who immediately come to mind as possible successors are Hanabusa, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case.
"Hanabusa's name will go up. Remember that our Congress people, the Democrats, have always pushed a Congress person up," he said.