By ALEX ISENSTADT | 4/7/10 10:50 AM HST
State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat running in Hawaii’s May 22 special election for a vacant House seat, has brought on a top aide to Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) to help run her campaign.
Jennifer Goto-Sabas, who serves as Inouye’s chief of staff in Hawaii and had been informally advising the Hanabusa effort, is taking on an expanded role in the campaign for the seat left vacant by the resignation of former Rep. Neil Abercrombie, according to a source familiar with the move. Inouye and fellow Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka have both endorsed Hanabusa over former Democratic Rep. Ed Case in the three-way, winner-take-all May contest.
The source said the move was in part intended as a warning shot to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is considering an endorsement for Case. Democrats are worried about a scenario in which Hanabusa and Case split the party vote, paving the way for Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou to emerge the winner in the heavily Democratic seat.
On Tuesday, (DCCC Chairman Chris) Van Hollen told POLITICO that the DCCC was not closing the door on making an endorsement in the race.
The move also signals an attempt to stabilize the Hanabusa campaign, which recently came under sharp criticism for an ad touting a vote to cut state legislative salaries. The campaign later pulled the ad from the airwaves after conceding the spot was misleading.
“Jennifer is here to be a steady hand,” said the source.
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