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Hawaii: Senate Candidates Appropriating Daniel Inouye, Barack Obama

 Rep. Mazie Hirono won her Senate primary and is favored to win the seat in November. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Mazie Hirono won her Senate primary and is favored to win the seat in November. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Unlike many Democratic Senate candidates this cycle, Rep. Mazie Hirono seems eager to run on the coattails of her fellow Democrats — namely President Barack Obama and Hawaii’s senior Senator, Daniel Inouye.

Obama is expected to easily prevail in his native state, and Hirono, the Democratic Senate nominee, is embracing her support of Obama in a new ad hitting her opponent, former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, for supporting GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

A release from the Hirono campaign characterized the ad as a statewide buy. If the past is any indication, then Hawaiians will see it on their TVs with some frequency.

“Romney’s priorities aren’t Hawaii’s,” the ad says, highlighting differences between Hirono and Romney on taxes.

Lingle has sought to demonstrate moderate views, willingly expressing opposition to Romney, telling the Honolulu Civil Beat after controversial comments surfaced from Romney about 47 percent of Americans not making federal income tax payments that she disagreed with what he said.

“Mazie Hirono’s repeated attempts to nationalize this election are proof that she does not have a record of accomplishment for the people of Hawaii and she must campaign on fear tactics and national party talking points, rather than her own plans for our future,” she said in a statement to the paper. “I am not a rubber stamp for the national party and I am not responsible for the statements of Mitt Romney.”

A video message last week from Lingle campaign manager Bob Lee, a retired major general, tried to bring the campaign back home, suggesting Inouye would remain powerful even if a Lingle victory contributed to Democrats losing the Senate majority. In that case, of course, Inouye would surrender the gavel of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Regardless of whether the Republicans or Democrats were in the majority in the Senate, Sen. Inouye and his partner, Sen. Ted Stevens from Alaska, delivered the resources Hawaii deserved. Sadly, Sen. Stevens passed a few years ago,” Lee said.

That effort drew a sharp rebuke from Inouye, who is among the most-revered figures in the history of Hawaii. He construed the message as a comparison between Lingle and the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R), who was Inouye’s dearest friend in the Senate.

“To claim that Gov. Lingle could replace my brother, Sen. Ted Stevens, is outrageous, and as I have said previously, Linda Lingle is no Ted Stevens,” Inouye said.

The new advertising blitz from the Hirono campaign shows she is perfectly willing to have a national campaign.

“Unlike Lingle, Mazie Hirono will fight for Hawaii’s values and partner with President Obama and Sen. Inouye in standing up for our middle-class families, not the wealthiest 2%,” Hirono campaign manager Betsy Lin said in a statement accompanying the new ad.