BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – Linda Lingle will announce her candidacy today for U.S. Senate.

The former Republican governor, who already talked about her decision on KHVH News Radio and KSSK Radio this morning, will make her announcement at the Pacific Club today during a luncheon where she is the keynote speaker.

U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, D-HI, who is retiring in 2012 after decades in public service, has left the seat open.

Former Congressman Ed Case and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono are running for the open seat in the Democratic primary.

John Carroll, a former Republican state senator, will challenge Lingle in the primary.

The race is expected to be contentious and expensive.

Hawaii’s Senior Senator, Daniel Inouye, is using his power and influence to campaign and fundraise for Hirono and help her win the seat. Several unions also have endorsed her.

Case, who served in the Congress from 2002 to 2007, and in the state House before that, is also furiously raising funds, and campaigning in all Hawaii counties, including on the island of Hawaii this weekend.  Those backing the former Blue Dog Democrat include more moderate Democrats and independents who appreciated his challenge to Hawaii’s more liberal wing of his party.

Lingle said today on the Rick Hamada Program that she has several ideas on how to make government more efficient and help the economy rebound.

Lingle said: “I am very appreciative of the encouragement I have received from our residents across the state about my run for Hawai‘i’s open U.S. Senate seat. Because of this support, and after much thoughtful deliberation, I am energized and enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve all the people of Hawaii in Washington. If elected, first, foremost and always, my decisions will put Hawaii people first as we decide the critical issues facing our state and country.”

The 2012 election could give Republicans the majority in the U.S. Senate, and for this reason, and others, she believes Hawaii will benefit from having a bi-partisan team in the U.S. Senate.

She noted that when Inouye was friends with the now deceased U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, that they helped each other get their bills through the Senate, no matter which party was in power.

Lingle is expected to have to raise as much as $8 million to beat either Case or Hirono.

Retired General Robert Lee will serve as Lingle’s campaign manager. The former Adjunct General, head of the Hawaii National Guard, and Lingle cabinet member from 2002 to 2010 has been a crisis manager and leader in Hawaii for both the military and civil defense emergencies, so he is well known to Hawaii people. Lingle said.

Lingle said although Lee has no political campaign experience, she will rely on his leadership and knowledge of military, defense and state issues to enhance her campaign.

Lee said: “I’m excited to bring my local, national and international leadership experience to this important campaign, which I know will complement an incredibly talented team. Governor Lingle is the right person at the right time with the right approach to serve in Washington. Her balanced, practical approach to governing is what we need in this time of uncertainty for our state and nation.”

Case, Hirono and Lingle have campaigned against each other before. In 2002, Case challenged then Lieutenant Governor Mazie Hirono in the gubernatorial primary and lost.

Hirono challenged Lingle in the gubernatorial primary, and Lingle won that seat.

Lingle went on to become Hawaii’s 6th governor of Hawaii and was easily re-elected in her second term in 2006. Lingle, who was a five-term council member on Maui and two-term Mayor of Maui before becoming governor, said she will bring her “strong record of fiscal accountability and executive experience in economic development, stimulating job creation, international relations, clean energy and visitor industry issues to Washington.” She said she will spend the next 13 months criss crossing the state.

Case said today that he welcomes Lingle into the race for U.S. Senate, but he also took the opportunity to challenge her on a number of fronts, setting the tone for what will be a competitive race for Hawaii’s top political position.

“Hawaii’s voters couldn’t have a clearer choice among very different candidates in the most important election in a generation. Hawai‘i needs a Senator who will apply our values to the changes so deeply needed on Capitol Hill. Those values, my values, are best represented by the Democratic Party, while Linda’s first vote in the Senate would be for a leadership and agenda that would tank our economy, skimp on education and welsh on our promises to seniors and veterans.

“Hawaii needs a Senator who will reject purely partisan politics and get things done. Despite what she’ll say, that wasn’t Linda’s record as Governor and she deserted Hawai‘i at crucial times to campaign for mainland Republicans.

See more on the web: www.lingle2012.com. The campaign is also present in social media: @lingle2012 on Twitter and on Facebook atfacebook.com/lingle2012.

Comments

comments