Monday, October 15, 2012

Alaska Congressman Don Young Switches Hawaii Senate Endorsement From Democrat Mazie Hirono To Republican Linda Lingle; Lingle Trails Hirono Badly

Remember the minor furor that ensued when Alaska's Republican Congressman Don Young endorsed Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Mazie Hirono for their U.S. Senate seat back in July prior to their primary election? Well, it now seems Don Young has changed his mind. On October 15th, 2012, it was reported that Young has now endorsed the Republican candidate, Linda Lingle to replace the retiring Democratic Senator Daniel Akaka. Young says that Lingle, who is a former two-term governor of Hawaii, has a strong bipartisan record that will benefit both Alaska and Hawaii. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has already endorsed Lingle.

The Hawaii Reporter published the following excerpt from a letter by Young:

"Governor Lingle has the leadership and the bipartisan record to make an immediate positive impact for the people Hawaii, Alaska and our nation. Bipartisan leadership is what is lacking in the U.S. Senate and is what has brought our country to the edge of a fiscal cliff. Now more than ever Hawaii needs a real bipartisan leader to provide common sense governance to Washington, D.C."

Linda Lingle was originally quite incensed by Young's earlier endorsement of Hirono, characterizing Don Young as controversial and ethically-challenged. But today she set that all aside and expressed appreciation of Young's change of heart, saying "I'm honored to have the support of Rep. Young and Senator Murkowski, and other important Alaskan leaders. Our state's position will be strengthened by having a balanced delegation with a foot in both camps so no matter which political party has a majority Hawaii will be represented in the majority. I look forward to continuing the work done by Senator Inouye and the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens".

The first independent poll taken in Hawaii since the August primary election indicates Lingle could use the help -- and then some. A Civil Beat poll taken Sept. 26-28 indicates Hirono leads Lingle by 55 percent to 39 percent. Only voters of Chinese origin support Lingle, and then by only one percentage point.

Don Young doesn't have that same problem in his own re-election campaign. Young raised an additional $122,000 during the most recent reporting period and now has a total of $569,000 on hand. His two leading opponents, Democrat Sharon Cissna and Libertarian James McDermott, are nowhere close. Cissna has run a gallant campaign during which her primary emphasis has been on exposing TSA abuses and the danger the TSA poses to individual liberty and freedom of movement. Cissna has received no help from the national Democratic Party, although she's received grass-roots support as expressed in more than 2,000 calls, emails and letters from people sharing their own adverse experiences with TSA. Cissna freely acknowledges that she's the underdog and that Don Young shares her concern about TSA abuses, but doesn't believe Young has spoken out vociferously enough against the TSA. Pollster Marc Hellenthal writes off the race as nothing more than a "big fizzle."

Other Alaska candidates running against Don Young include Ted Gianoutsos, as well as write-in candidates Sidney Hill and Fletcher Fuller and Clinton Desjarlais.

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