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Bipartisan Buddies

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono, who is running for Hawaii’s open Senate seat, is airing an ad featuring Republican Rep. Don Young in an effort to show her bipartisan bona fides.

“The main issue that we’re trying to underscore here is that Washington has a lot of serious problems — the partisanship is one of the biggest obstacles to getting things done,” Hirono pollster Pete Brodnitz said. “While Mazie is someone who is a Democrat and proud to vote with the president and his agenda, she also sets partisanship aside to do the right thing for Hawaii.”

Lingle and Case released statements Tuesday night highlighting their own records of bipartisanship and accomplishment.

“Please compare Mazie and me on leadership: our actions, not just our words,” Case said. “Then ask who can get the job done for us all in the Senate.”

Lingle campaign manager Bob Lee referred to Young as one of the House’s “most controversial Members, who even Mazie’s fellow Democrats have criticized on a range of ethics and spending issues.” Lee also said the campaign looks forward to comparing the records of Lingle and the eventual Democratic nominee.

“Gov. Lingle is proud of her long, proven record of bipartisanship, stretching over 25 years of public service to the people of Hawaii,” he said.

Hirono ended the second quarter with $2 million in cash on hand. Case, who is running for this seat again after falling short in his challenge to Sen. Daniel Akaka (D) in 2006, ended with just $252,000.

Brodnitz maintained that the campaign still believes Hirono has a double-digit lead over Case in the primary and that there has been no credible evidence to the contrary to change that feeling. The campaign’s latest poll had Hirono up 15 points.

In an email to Roll Call, Case pointed to polls conducted for him and Lingle that showed the primary far closer.

“We feel very good going into these final weeks considering that, despite the strategy of Hirono and her supporters to ignore and marginalize us, we are running even with her,” he said.

Case, a former Blue Dog, has worked to paint himself as the Democrat best able to defeat Lingle. He has been unable to compete financially so far in the primary, but he said he has been much more visible on the trail than Hirono. They will meet tonight for a fifth and final debate.

Still, the Young endorsement brought national attention to a primary that’s so far flown under the radar, and the Hirono campaign believes it will provide a boost both on Aug. 11 and in November.

“Mazie has been very clear that she supports the party, she supports the president, but Hawaii is her main focus,” Brodnitz said. “We think this really demonstrates that.”

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