by Andrew Walden
(This story has been updated to reflect Sen Akaka's response.)
In an April 20 story about Democrat Senators already raising money for the 2012 race, POLITICO mentions speculation about the future political aspirations of Senator Dan Akaka (D-HI):
“But several Democrats, too, could possibly be on their way out in 2012, with political operatives eyeing the possibility that five senators — 92-year-old Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and Ben Nelson of Nebraska — may call it quits. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who already has a big target on his back from the left, also could bow out.”
UPDATE Akaka responds--Sen. Akaka: "God willing, I Plan to Run Again in 2012"
Although Hawaii’s Democrat media is loath to discuss it, local political figures are already positioning themselves for a 2012 Senate race. Interviewed by The Hill, December 18 Ed Case said:
"I’ve never ruled out the Senate. If there is that opportunity, I’m not going to sit here at the end of 2009 and say I’m not going to be a candidate.”
In several recent political appearances, Governor Linda Lingle has repeatedly made comments similar to those she made at a Hawaii island Chamber of Commerce meeting in Hilo, April 21:
“People ask if I'd run for office again. I might."
Regardless of the result of the Special Election or the November election, without an Akaka candidacy, it looks like 2012 would feature a showdown between Case and Lingle for the Senate—unless Inouye is able to arrange the defeat of Case in the 2012 primary.
Case’s refusal to rule out another Senate run undermines one of the key arguments for his House candidacy—that his seniority in the House will provide Hawaii with an edge in winning pork. House seniority is meaningless in the Senate.
HFP: Ed Case announces candidacy -- for SENATE: Calls Hanabusa clueless
POLITICO: Dems race for cash -- for 2012
HFP: Ed Case in Congress: Influence less than zero