Does Lingle Support U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

UPDATED 5/18/2012 7:30 a.m.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce loves Linda Lingle, but does Lingle love the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

The question arises because the U.S. Chamber plans to spend at least $500,000 this year in support of Linda Lingle's bid for the U.S. Senate.

About half that amount has already paid for a television advertisement that ran statewide in February. The ad touted what it described as the bipartisan credentials of Lingle, a two-term Republican governor and former Maui mayor, to promote tourism.

On May 10, the U.S. Chamber launched a second TV ad blitz that runs for two weeks. The spot, posted at the end of this article, is similar to the first, stressing bipartisanship and tourism.

The Lingle campaign is not responsible for the ads; they're part of a national campaign by the U.S. Chamber to elect or re-elect people to the U.S. Congress who share the chamber's views on supporting businesses, lowering taxes and controlling government growth.

But Lingle is getting the benefit from the ads, which far outnumber the spots run so far this year by Democrats Mazie Hirono and Ed Case — even though Lingle does not have a serious primary challenger.

She has also enthusiastically accepted the U.S. Chamber's endorsement, saying in a May 9 press release that she is "honored and humbled by their support."

And, she welcomes the TV ads on her behalf, as she said in the same press release: "I am also pleased the U.S. Chamber has backed up their endorsement with a television schedule that reinforces my bipartisan position on growing our local economy."

In aligning herself with the U.S. Chamber, however, Lingle is embracing an organization that has been one of President Barack Obama's harshest critics.

Under president and CEO Tom Donohue, Obama has been castigated over health care, renewable energy and job growth, to name just a few hot-button issues.

And, while Donohue and Obama are reported to have worked to improve relations in recent months, the reality is that the U.S. Chamber is supporting a slate of candidates that would work to oppose many of the president's policies and goals.

Should she win the primary, Lingle is certain to come under attack from local and national Democrats during the general election.

UPDATE

Civil Beat left messages with the Lingle campaign asking whether she supports the U.S. Chamber's agenda and policies but did not hear back before this article was published. Late Thursday, a campaign spokeswoman responded by referring us to the May 9 press release.

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