Political File
News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Lingle has no regrets
about ’04 campaign

Should Gov. Linda Lingle have campaigned harder in Pukulani, Olowalu and Mililani rather than in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maine?

The question doesn't seem to weigh heavily on the Republican governor's mind as she enters the second half of her term facing a stronger Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Lingle said this week that she has no regrets in her efforts for President Bush's re-election, even though Hawaii's four electoral votes went to Sen. John Kerry and island Republicans faltered badly in the November election, with six GOP House members unseated by Democrats.

Areas that switched from GOP to Democratic representation include Aina Haina, Hahaione Valley, Honokohau, Kaneohe, Kapalua, Keauhou, Maunawili, Mililani, Olowalu, Pukalani, Ulupalakua and Waipahu.

Democrats now outnumber Republicans in both legislative houses 4-to-1, causing Lingle to give up on a key goal of her administration: the breakup of the state education system.

The governor has pointed out that Republicans lost five Hawaii legislative races by an average of just 86 votes each.

Even so, she said she doesn't think three days of campaigning in the islands instead of out of state would have made a difference.

And she insists that her efforts on behalf of the president will help Hawaii.

"I was gone for about three days, and it was time very well spent because I felt very strongly that it was best for the country and our state that the president be re-elected," Lingle said last week in an interview.

After the final presidential debate in Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 13, in the heat of local legislative races, Lingle flew with Bush aboard Air Force One to Las Vegas. From there she made campaign appearances for Bush in Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maine.

"I am familiar with people in the White House, and they have strong and good feelings about our state," she said.

The governor noted that when the state hosted the Asia-Pacific Homeland Security Summit, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge came to Honolulu to speak.

While Lingle campaigned as a moderate Republican two years ago, she sees no conflict in her strong support for Bush, a conservative.

"When the public reviews the positions I take, the laws I propose and how I feel the budget should be allocated, I feel they will continue to have positive feelings and see me, perhaps, in a broader way as they get to know me better," she said.

"My support for President Bush is because I believe he was best for the country and state," she said. "I think people will make the distinction on the policies and positions I take.

"In two years we'll know for sure," she said in reference to her planned re-election campaign.

"The public is proud of my involvement at the national level," she said, "but they know my position on issues such as a women's right to choose has not changed."

People tell her they are proud of her speech at the Republican National Convention and are glad that Hawaii was represented, and see her flying on Air Force One as a positive thing for the state, Lingle said.

E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com