Case Versus Hirono, But Lingle's In the Mix

Hawaii News Now

A buddy and still occasional colleague of mine now living five time zones away watched the "Senate Showdown" between Ed Case and Mazie Hirono on Hawaii News Now Thursday evening.

Total political junkie that she is, she served up three tweets at the end of the 90-minute forum that captured several relevant points that I mostly share:

All issues aside, Case edges Hirono when it comes to debate skills. Imagine if Lingle were in the mix tonight.

Mahalo @HawaiiNewsNow. Smartly prepped and smoothly produced debate. Totally worth staying up late on the East Coast!

Lingle camp already rolling out statements about specific debate claims. Well-oiled machine, runs like a major national campaign.

Indeed, Linda Lingle's campaign for the U.S. Senate emailed out no less than four "Debate Fact Checks" as Democrats Hirono and Case went at it. It underscores that this race is just 16 days away from entering a new, and likely dramatic phase.

To differ just a bit with my East Coast bud, I think Lingle was very much in the mix Thursday night, especially for Hirono, who mentioned her directly several times and fellow Republican George W. Bush even more.

Even though the primary hasn't been held yet, one gets the feeling that Hirono already has her eye on Nov. 6.

She had the luck to appear on a debate co-sponsored by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which ran a new poll that very morning showing Hirono with double-digit leads over Case and Lingle.

(The Star-Advertiser will make its endorsement for the U.S. Senate Friday, and it's going to translate into very good news for one of these three people.)

That follows another round of campaign finance reports that show Hirono at least in the game with Lingle while Case trails badly.

And, Hirono's airing of a video showing Alaska Rep. Don Young — a Republican — endorsing her was the talk of D.C. that blunts Lingle's efforts to make the bipartisan issue her own.

I give Case points for the debate, Hirono props for a great week and Lingle for doing her best to remind folks what's coming next.

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