Senate Candidate starts her own cable channel

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tune to digital channel 110 and its all Linda Lingle all the time.  Governor Linda Lingle has become the first political candidate in the country to launch her own cable channel.  As you can imagine it's all about her message.

Linda Lingle's first minute long commercial in her bid for U.S. Senate starts running today including on HawaiiNewsNow.  The ad will also encourage viewers to see more on her new TV station on Oceanic Time Warner digital cable.

"We don't want to interrupt people's dinner time but they can go to it 24/7 whenever they like," said Lenny Klompus, Linda Lingle Campaign Communications Director.  "People's lives are so busy right now. You're running from one thing to the other. This way we can deliver our message, interactively right into someone's living room."

On the channel guide it's located right in between Fox News Channel and Headline News.  Viewers can choose from various videos and commercials from Governor Lingle.  They also plan to add interactive polling, interviews and live coverage of events.

Ironically Lingle herself wasn't available to talk on camera about it because she is fundraising in San Francisco.

"You can't be everywhere. We had a meeting today and we had over 200 requests for the Governor to go to an event. There are only 30 days in a month so there are certain things she can go to and there are things she's not going to be able to make unfortunately," said Klompus.

Which he says is another reason to have the cable channel.  Of course all access comes at price.  The campaign says its part of a package deal with Oceanic Time Warner.  The channel and ad time on thirteen other cable stations cost $10,000 to $12,000 a week.

"We think at the end of the day it will be a good price point for us," said Klompus.

Considering the race for US Senate is expected to be close the channel could be enough to sway the right amount of voters.

"I think it will be marginally effective at best but marginally effective is all it may take to win this election," said Dan Boylan, Political Analyst.  "The smallest number of people if they go there and they come away convinced, if they like what she has to say about this, that or the other thing that could make a difference in this campaign. It's going to be close and this may make a difference."

Opponents sounded off about the cable channel. Mazie Hirono declined to be interviewed on camera but her spokesperson issued a written statement.

"Republican Linda Lingle is buying her own cable channel to re-write her history in Hawaii politics.  She is pretending to be bipartisan, but the people of Hawaii remember the partisanship and division that they experienced during the eight years Linda Lingle was governor," wrote Carolyn Tanaka, Deputy Campaign Manager, Communications.

Ed Case did speak on camera about the issue saying he produced some of the first enewsletters in the state and etalk story sessions while in the House of Representatives.  He says the cable channel is a good idea but it isn't truly interactive because people can't ask questions.

"Voters want real candidates they don't want candidates that play  hide and seek behind armies of handlers and millions in slick ads or who are on a constant DC spin cycle and frankly both Mazie and Linda are operating campaigns that are highly controlled designed to micro manage their message and this seems to be more of that," said Case. "Nothing replaces one on one. That's the way we've run our campaign. Grassroots, pau hanas, nobody is there to censor any questions or put it up on TV. It's me and the voters."

As for what will happen to the Linda Lingle channel after the elections will depend on the outcome.  But Klompus says they are booked to keep it running until November 7, one day after the general election.

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