Lingle calls wide win 'a vote of confidence'
Gov. Linda Lingle won re-election Tuesday with the largest margin of victory of any governor in Hawaii's history.
The final vote tally shows Lingle winning with 215,279 votes, nearly 62 percent of the votes cast for governor. The second-highest winning percentage was that of former Gov. John Waihee, who won in 1990 with 59 percent of the vote in a campaign against Republican Fred Hemmings.
In a meeting with reporters yesterday, Lingle called the returns "a vote of confidence."
"There were a lot of attempts to tie me to the war in Iraq and to tie me to President Bush because of my friendship with him. ... I am really glad for this vote of confidence," Lingle said.
While Lingle was winning, her fellow Republicans were losing. The state Legislature lost two GOP members, bringing the total minority representation to just 13.
Asked why her campaign was so successful but Republicans in other races failed to win, Lingle said that although she had devoted time to helping GOP candidates in 2004, her re-election was her priority this year.
"My campaign was my priority. I made appearances for my fellow Republicans to help them raise money and to advise them," Lingle said.
"Obviously in 2004, I was much more available," she said.
Lingle also benefited from a record-setting fundraising effort that picked up more than $6.5 million.
In comparison, her opponent, Democrat Randy Iwase, was able to raise only 5 percent of that, $330,000.
Miriam Hellreich, director of finance for Lingle's campaign, said the campaign had a set plan and did not deviate from it.
"We were right on target. We peaked at just the right time," Hellreich said.
Voters approved of Lingle's approach to the problems of housing, crime and education, according to Hellreich.
"This was such a decisive victory, the voters feel they can trust her and that she is doing the best for the state. We knew she was doing well because people would recite what Lingle had said in speeches or in commercials," Hellreich said.
Lingle said she regretted not getting more union support in her campaign. Although she and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona were endorsed by the police and firefighters unions, the masons and the University of Hawaii professors, Lingle said she thought she should have had more support.
"The teachers were the biggest disappointment," Lingle said, noting that the Hawaii State Teachers Association has never endorsed her, although she is supported by teachers.
"We have worked cooperatively with the HSTA in negotiations, and I know their (HSTA) recommendation did not reflect their membership," Lingle said.
She said her failure to also win the support of the building and construction unions was also a disappointment.
"I was surprised that the building trade unions had not at least stayed neutral because of how great the economy has been.
"I think it would have been in their members' best interest to have an administration that is able to keep the economy vibrant," Lingle said.