Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is endorsing former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in the race to fill Hawaii's open Senate seat, even though he appeared in an ad backing Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) during primary season.
Young made the announcement in a letter on Monday, endorsing Lingle because her victory — as unlikely as it seems to be — could help Republicans take control of the Senate. The campaign is not close, with polling showing Lingle trailing Hirono by double digits. But it continues to generate strange side stories far from the mainland.
"As the only noncontiguous states in the union, Alaska and Hawaii are connected through a unique set of issues facing each state. Energy is on the minds of both Alaskans and Hawaiians," Young wrote. "Harry Reid and his cohorts — continue to stand in the way of responsible development of Alaska's resources."
Young uses the letter to blast Democrats about energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Efforts to open the area to drilling have been repeatedly opposed in the Senate because of environmental concerns. In the most audacious example, then-Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) tried to include ANWR language in the fiscal 2006 Defense appropriations bill, which Democrats filibustered to stop from being included.
A Republican endorsing a fellow Republican in a Senate campaign would not ordinarily make news. However, Young appeared in a Web ad for the Democratic nominee for the seat, Hirono, during her Democratic primary against former Rep. Ed Case. That ad is currently set to private on YouTube, but a report from KITV in Honolulu has the highlights.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has traveled to Hawaii to campaign for Lingle.