Cory Booker Backs Tulsi Gabbard For Hawaii Senate Seat


Less than a week after indicating his own interest in seeking a U.S. Senate seat from New Jersey in 2014, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) has taken to Twitter to help an ally obtain a Hawaii Senate seat.

Booker used Twitter over the weekend to promote the candidacy of Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) to fill the seat of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), who died last week. Gabbard, an Iraq veteran who was elected to her first term in Congress last month, is one of 12 Democrats seeking the two-year appointment to Inouye's seat. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) is expected to name a new senator later Wednesday after the state Democratic Party names three finalists.

Booker kicked off his support of Gabbard Friday after receiving a Tweet suggesting he move to Hawaii to become the state's new senator. The two-term mayor then said he hoped Gabbard received the appointment from Abercrombie. Booker followed up that the Senate needed "some 'new'" as part of his support for the 31-year-old Gabbard.

Since Monday, Booker has continued his Twitter campaign for Gabbard calling her an "inspiring person" and retweeting favorable comments, along with a blog post written by Allen Hoe in The Huffington Post promoting Gabbard's Senate candidacy.

Booker is not the only national leader to support Abercrombie appointing Gabbard. Kal Penn, the actor and former adviser to President Barack Obama, tweeted his support for Gabbard, calling her "my homie." On Monday, Gabbard's campaign released a letter to Abercrombie signed by eight national young political leaders endorsing Gabbard.

Booker announced last Thursday that he was exploring a Senate race in New Jersey in 2014, potentially against Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who said he will not announce whether he is seeking reelection until next year. Booker's characterization of the Senate needing "new" in terms of the Gabbard appointment could indicate a future campaign theme against the 88-year-old Lautenberg, first elected in 1982. In a tweet last week, Booker indicated he planned to talk to Lautenberg about the incumbent's plans.

Hawaii News Now reports that Democrats are expected to send the names of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D) to Abercrombie for the Senate appointment, along with a third name. Inouye indicated in a letter to Abercrombie hours before he died that he wanted Hanabusa to succeed him. If appointed, either Schatz, 40, or Gabbard would become the nation's youngest senator, a title currently held by 41-year-old Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R).

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