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Sen. Akaka (D-Hawaii) announces he’ll retire in 2012

Senator Daniel Akaka, who’s been one of Hawaii’s Senators since appointed to fill Spark Matsunaga’s seat, and then elected on his own  in 1990, announced that he will retire at the end of his term in 2012.

I’ve never been enamored of either of Hawaii’s Senators, particularly Ted Stevens’ BFF, earmarks-whore [and proud of it] Inouye.  And Akaka’s 86, and pretty much of a cipher, so tears aren’t being shed in this household.

What I do find curious, however, is that Akaka is choosing to complete his term.  If he were to resign any time between now & Nov 2012, our Democratic governor Neil Abercrombie would be required by state law to appoint a Democrat.

Now Abercrombie himself pissed off a lot of folks here [or at least the Republicans attacked him an awful lot] by  resigning his House seat so he could run for governor.  The special election required to replace him cost a lot of money, something that didn’t go over well, and the resignation seemed designed only to serve Abercrombie’s ability to better conduct his campaign.  His resignation, plus the pig-headed refusal of Ed Case [D-DNC & DLC] to get out of the winner-take-all race to replace Abercrombie, allowed pea-brained Charles Djou [R-Moronville] to represent Hawaii for a few months.  Sanity returned in Nov 2010 when Colleen Hanabusa was elected to the seat.

To return to the mystery: why is Akaka choosing to stay in office until 2012, denying Abercrombie the opportunity to appoint a Democrat who would have the advantage of incumbency in the Nov. 2012 election?  To what degree does this “open” election offer the Republicans a chance to take this Senate seat?  Does Obama really care if they do?

It’s a mystery to me, so if anyone has some theories, I’d sure love to hear them.

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