Huffpost Hawaii

Abercrombie Questions Inouye's Purported Deathbed Wish

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US Senator Daniel K. Inouye, left, and Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie greet each other after a speech given by US Sec. of State Hillary Clinton at the East West Center on the campus of the University of Hawaii, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 in Honolulu. (AP Photo/ Marco Garcia) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

HONOLULU  — For political and emotional drama, it’s hard to top this: U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, the most beloved and respected figure in Hawaii state history, makes a death-bed request to name his successor in Washington.

But the governor, a fellow Democrat who has clashed with Inouye, spurns the dying senator’s plea and appoints his own lieutenant governor to the seat.

The result, playing out more than a year later,  is a closely fought and emotionally wrought primary battle between the novice senator, Brian Schatz, and Inouye’s choice, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa:  a Democrat-on-Democrat fight tinged with ethnic and generational tension and haunted, inevitably, by the ghost of Inouye and his last wish.

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