Inouye attracted criticism again this year for endorsing Hawaii Rep. Mazie Hirono for a U.S. Senate seat before the Democratic primary had been held, causing some Democrats to “bristle” at Inouye’s persistent control of state politics.
Many Hawaii Democrats defiantly backed grassroots candidate Case, who mounted a strong primary challenge to Hirono and, in effect, to the Hawaii political establishment presided over by Inouye.
“The Democratic primary can be seen as a referendum on Senator Inouye,” Hawaii Reporter publisher Malia Zimmerman said in July.
Case received 40 percent of the primary vote.
Inouye and Hirono celebrated Hirono’s primary victory together August 11 after Hirono received only 57 percent of the vote in what was expected to be a virtually uncontested primary.
Nevertheless, despite opposition from Democrats both at home and in Washington, Inouye reportedly intends to seek a tenth term in the Senate in 2016, at age 92.