Schatz, Hanabusa land big endorsements

SHOPO backs Schatz; Inouye's widow supports Hanabusa

 UPDATED 10:18 PM HST May 03, 2013
HONOLUU -

Hawaii's U.S. Senate race is on!  Sen. Brian Schatz and challenger Rep. Colleen Hanabusa each landed big endorsements on Friday.

"Hawaii voters have an opportunity to think about their kids and their grandkids and that's what our campaign is gonna be about, it's gonna be about the future," said Schatz.

The future just got competitive for Schatz.  He's now in full campaign mode trying to hang on to his Senate seat.

And in the world of politics, an endorsement from the State of Hawaii Organization of Police, or SHOPO, is a big one.

"We definitely stand behind wholeheartedly to support Sen. Schatz.  Welcome sir, congratulations," said SHOPO President Tenari Ma'afala.

But, as the senator accepted these alohas, his opponent in the Democratic primary landed a big one, too.

Sen. Daniel Inouye's widow, Irene Hirano Inouye, announced she's backing Colleen Hanabusa, writing that her husband's "... last wish was that Colleen serve out his term because he was confident in her ability to step into the Senate and immediately help Hawaii.  I am honoring one of his last requests..."

Sen. Schatz says he, too, sought Mrs. Inouye's endorsement.

"I did ask for her support.  Obviously, she wasn't able to give it but it was a warm conversation," said Schatz.

When we sat down with Congresswoman Hanabusa, she said Sen. Inouye is a part of this race.

"I can't say that he didn't have an influence, because he had an influence on my political career for quite a while now.  So, of course, he's part of it," said Hanabusa.

But, more importantly, she says she's running so that voters have a choice.  And Sen. Schatz says that's exactly why he's running as well.

"I want to welcome Colleen to the face.  This is a great opportunity for the people of Hawaii to decide to what's best for our future," said Schatz.

The future of this race is sure to be a lively one.

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