Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle
Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle

First it was Hawaii Congresswoman Mazie Hirono who bragged about getting the endorsement of Alaska Congressman Don Young in the U.S. Senate Primary election.

Hirono’s campaign unveiled a television commercial in July featuring Hirono, a Democrat, and Young, a Republican, sitting side by side, saying how well they work together. The point was to show the liberal Hirono can reach across the isle and get along with Republicans too.

During the General Election, Young left his endorsement for Hirono behind, and instead offered his alliance to U.S. Senate Candidate Linda Lingle. Lingle, Hawaii’s former Governor, is a Republican.

Last week, Lingle sent out a new release about Young’s change of heart.

But there have been some unusual twists in this story, which has received national attention.

Young is one of the most controversial Congressmen in office.

Young was investigated by the House Ethics Committee last year and was the subject of a long-running Justice Department probe until last year, according to Politico.

Politico reported Young was investigated over a “Coconut Grove” earmark that he included in a 2005 highway bill for a developer who coincidentally contributed to Young’s reelection campaign.

No criminal charges were brought by DOJ against Young. But Politico also reports the Office of Congressional Ethics followed up by investigating Young’s legal defense fund that he used to pay for his legal fees during the DOJ criminal investigation.

Ironically, when Hirono first announced Young endorsed her in the Primary Election, Lingle’s campaign manager Bob Lee said: “It should be troubling to the people of Hawaii that Mazie Hirono’s first attempt to convey any example of bipartisanship is a video advertisement with one of the House of Representative’s most controversial members, who even Mazie’s fellow Democrats have criticized on a range of ethics and spending issues. This is not the leadership Hawaii needs.”

Now it is Lingle who has welcomed Young’s endorsement.

When McClatchy Newspapers asked Young back in July about Lingle’s criticism of his endorsement of Hirono, the office released this statement: “First and foremost, the endorsement of Rep. Hirono was for just the Primary Election.”

The office added: “Congressman Young has not made an endorsement in the general election and has no plans to do so.”

Some voters are wondering why Young went against his original statement and endorsed a candidate in the General election after all, and why Lingle, after her campaign’s original criticism of Young, embraced the endorsement.

 

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