By Derrick DePledge
Several Democratic insiders have said over the past few days that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann plans to run for Congress.
Hannemann himself, however, is not ready to formally announce for urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District. "I have nothing definitive to report at this time," he said in a text on Thursday afternoon.
The barrier for Hannemann has been the Democratic primary. He lost to U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for the 2nd Congressional District last year and to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for governor in 2010 after many insiders believed the former mayor had legitimate chances to prevail.
Hannemann won a primary for Congress over Abercrombie in 1986 -- and lost a special election to Abercrombie to fill out the remainder of U.S. Rep. Cec Heftel's term on the same day -- but failed to beat U.S. Rep. Pat Saiki, a Republican, in the general election.
Hannemann has been viewed as too conservative to win over a primary electorate that has moved to the left over the past decade.
But the crowded field in the primary to replace U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa -- who is vacating her seat to challenge U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz -- could provide Hannemann with an opening. He would have the highest name recognition in a race where the winner could claim victory with a plurality of votes.
State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, state Rep. K. Mark Takai, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, state Sen. Will Espero and activist Kathryn Xian are the contenders in the primary.