EMILY’s List will endorse Rep. Mazie Hirono on Tuesday, putting its support behind the three-term Democrat early on in the competitive primary to succeed retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).
“Mazie Hirono has spent her career fighting for the people of Hawaii and we are excited to endorse her campaign for the United States Senate,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a press release to be released Tuesday morning. “The EMILY’s List community was proud to support her in the past, loves her fighting spirit, and looks forward to helping her make history as the Senate’s first Asian-American woman in November.”
The endorsement might come as a surprise to freshman Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), who has not ruled out running for Akaka’s seat. She told reporters this week that she was still considering running for the Senate and will make a final decision by the end of the summer.
EMILY’s List, a Democratic, abortion-rights organization, has supported both Hirono and Hanabusa in their previous campaigns.
The primary for Akaka’s seat is expected to be competitive. In addition to Hirono, former Rep. Ed Case (D) has also announced he is running for the open Senate seat.
National party operatives expect the general election to be competitive if former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) jumps into the race.
This is the second endorsement from EMILY’s List in a Senate race this cycle. The group announced its support for Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) in the Nevada Senate race earlier this year.
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.