Republicans received good news yesterday when Linda Lingle, the former Governor of Hawaii, decided to launch a Senate bid:
Republicans have landed their top recruit in the open Hawaii Senate race, with former governor Linda Lingle entering the race and giving the GOP a chance to win in a heavily Democratic state.
…Lingle, a two-term governor who left office after the 2010 election, immediately becomes the frontrunner for the GOP nomination by virtue of her fundraising ability and political experience.
However, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves; after all, we’re talking about Hawaii, and Lingle certainly has her share of blemishes:
But she left office with so-so personal approval numbers and appears to enter the race with some work to do in repairing her political brand. Complicating matters is the fact that, for the first time, she will be on the statewide ballot with President Obama, whose roots in the state should make things more difficult for any Republican downballot next year. Obama took 72 percent of the vote in Hawaii in 2008.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Mazie Hirono has secured much of the establishment support, but former congressman Ed Case stands between her and the general election.
…A Hawaii Poll released in May showed Hirono leading Lingle by 22 points, while Case led by 18.
Case’s campaign released a more recent poll that showed him leading Lingle by 10 points, while Hirono trailed her by five. The poll earned Case an unusual rebuke from the national Democratic Party, which doubted its results.
As the article makes clear, Lingle faces an uphill battle. Still, it obviously benefits the GOP to have its strongest possible candidate in the race.