HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Call it respect or fear or something else, but when Governor Linda Lingle got into the race her opponents immediately started to attack.
And so it begins, the rematch of the 2002 gubernatorial election with Mazie Hirono, Ed Case and Linda Lingle. In that race Hirono squeaked by Case in the primary. But then Lingle won in the general election by 18,000 votes something Case says will happen again if Democrats don't vote for him.
"From a Democratic perspective a key issue for the Democrats is who can best present a good campaign against Lingle. We believe we're that candidate," said Ed Case, (D) Candidate for U.S. Senate.
Of course money, including mainland donations, will play a big factor. As of the last financial report in July Hirono had the most cash on hand with $545,000. Case had $206,000. Lingle and fellow Republican John Carroll hadn't announced yet.
Lingle expects to raise $8 to $10 million, a number her opponents are not likely to touch.
"We will not be raising $8 to $10 million I can assure you of that. We're going to be outraised and outspent throughout this election," said Case.
A way around Lingle's money is connecting her to Sarah Palin and the far right of the Republican Party.
"It's my honor to speak with you tonight about Senator McCain's outstanding choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as our parties vice presidential nominee," said Lingle, during her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention. "I have had the chance to get to know Sarah Palin. She is a terrific individual and an outstanding governor. Sarah is a person with proven leadership skills and strong moral character."
"She wanted Sarah Palin to be the vice president of this country and you cannot get away from that," said Case.
Hirono didn't make any statements herself but her team also pointed out Lingle's connection to Palin.
"Republican Linda Lingle's announcement today isn't particularly surprising. The national Republican Party has been anxious to move Lingle back to center stage as they did at the 2008 Republican National Convention, when Lingle went on national television to second Sarah Palin's nomination for Vice President and endorse the McCain-Palin ticket over our island son, Barack Obama," said Jadine Nielsen, finance chair of Hirono's campaign, in a written statement.
Of course before Lingle can even take on the Democrats, she has to get past John Carroll in the Republican primary. The 81 year old lawyer, pilot and former lawmaker says he plans to use his "youth" and personality to his advantage.
"So when you take Case, and Hirono and Lingle, they've all had at least 8 years to do something magnificent around here and none of them have done that. I've got 9 great grandkids coming up, I've got one last chance to do something decent around here, take advantage of my really good looks and experience and go on from there to get the state back in the kind of condition it should be in," said Carroll.