HONOLULU – The widower of the late Rep. Patsy Mink has entered the race for the Nov. 30 special election to serve out the final weeks of her term.
Patsy Mink died Sept. 28, two days after a deadline for the Democratic Party to name a replacement. Her name remains on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. If she is re-elected posthumously, a second special election would be required Jan. 4 to fill her vacancy.
But a special election is needed on Nov. 30 to finish the final weeks of Mink's term.
That is the race John Mink entered Tuesday. If he wins, Mink said would not seek re-election should his widow win posthumously in the general election, which is likely considering her enormous popularity.
"I have reluctantly decided to do this so that Patsy's hard work for the people of the Second District does not come to a premature and abrupt end on November 30,'' said Mink, who was his wife's campaign manager.
Mink and 40 other candidates are in the race to fill out his wife's unexpired term. He filed his candidacy just hours before the deadline to file for the special election.
A victory for John Mink would deny Democrats the advantage of incumbency in the Jan. 4 special election if it is held.
It also opens the way for more prominent candidates to run in the second special election, increasing the chance of splitting the Democratic vote.
And having Mink fill the few weeks remaining in his late wife's term would give other well-known Democrats more time to decide whether to get into the race for the next term if she wins posthumously.
The most prominent Democrat in the Nov. 30 election is state Rep. Ed Case, who narrowly lost to Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.
"I will ask the voters on November 30th to consider my candidacy as the first part of a 'package' to realize the advantages that seniority will bring,'' he said in a news release.
"With great respect for (John Mink) and his entire family, the Second District needs more than caretaker representation.''
Former Gov. John Waihee and other party members had urged Mink to enter the race. Waihee has said he is considering a run at the office in the event there is a third election.
Before Mink's entry, the 2nd District race had been shaping into a contest between Case and Republican Bob McDermott, the GOP nominee in the general election.
"There was enormous pressure placed on him by the Democratic elders to jump into this race, thereby eliminating any scramble in the short term with all of them hoping for a shot in January,'' McDermott said. "I think it was repugnant that he was pressured to do this.''