Hirono & Lingle meet at HNN for final U.S. Senate debate - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hirono & Lingle meet at HNN for final U.S. Senate debate

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawaii voters have just two weeks to decide who they'll choose as the state's next U.S. Senator - a seat open for the first time in a generation. To help voters, Hawaii News Now is holding the final debate between Republican Linda Lingle and Democrat Mazie Hirono.

Hirono and Lingle have debated a handful of times in this election season. They don't agree on a lot - so Hawaii voters who are still undecided have two very clear choices.

"These are pros. Both of them have been in politics a total of about 60 years between them. They know what they're going to say, and they're not going to say anything else. So, then, it becomes a performance art. Who performs better?"

Polls show Lingle behind anywhere from 4 to 17 points. Boylan expects the Republican to be more aggressive in Monday's debate. He also says both candidates are extraordinarily rehearsed - so look for them to be in lock-step with their national party platforms. Hirono, for instance, will align with Hawaii-born president, Barack Obama.

"She would be supporting him, maintaining, helping to maintain Democratic control of the Senate and trying to make his second term somewhat more comfortable than the first," says Boylan.

While the challenge may be greater for Lingle in this widely Democratic state, Mitt Romney's campaign momentum could really help. Boylan adds, "Tying one's self to Governor Romney and pointing out the importance of a Republican who can speak to the President, to a Republican president, better than a Democrat can, may, in fact, be something Linda Lingle may be arguing – that it's a better bet to vote for her."

With two weeks to go, the gloves are off. The campaign rhetoric has heightened. The ads are getting grittier. The outcome of this race could, potentially, have national implications 6,000 miles away on Capitol Hill.

The debate airs on both KGMB and KHNL and livestreams on HawaiiNewsNow.com - starting at 7 p.m.

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