Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) told his supporters Friday afternoon that he is leaving Congress before his term ends to focus on his 2010 bid for governor. Abercrombies decision to resign early sets up a special election sometime next year in the Aloha State, although the timing is unclear because the Congressman did not announce a specific date for his departure.In an announcement posted on his campaign Web site, Abercrombie said he would make a more formal announcement Sunday. Abercrombie wrote that he had shared his decision with the White House, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other leaders in Congress. I will soon set a firm date for my final day in office, he wrote. My immediate priority is to fulfill those remaining duties that require my participation and pave the way for our next representative.Two Democrats are already running for Abercrombies seat: state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former Rep. Ed Case, who represented Hawaiis 2nd Congressional district. Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou is running for the GOP nomination, and national Republicans have appeared supportive of his candidacy. A winner-take-all special election is likely to be more competitive and more expensive than the general election was expected to be since both national parties are likely to target the race.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.