After Democrats attacked her appearance with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) at a D.C. fundraiser Tuesday night as a tacit endorsement of his controversial amendment allowing employers to nix insurance coverage for moral reasons, former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle is clarifying her position.
A Lingle campaign aide said that the Republican Senate candidate is opposed to Blunt’s legislation.
Lingle landed herself in some hot water when she flew into D.C. and held a fundraiser with Blunt. Democrats said the fundraiser indicated Lingle’s support for Blunt’s amendment, which went down in the Senate last week.
One of the Democrats vying to be Lingle’s opponent, Rep. Mazie Hirono, assailed Lingle for raising money alongside Blunt.
“For all her public talk about ‘moderation’ and ‘bipartisanship,’ Linda Lingle is privately cozying up to right-wing extremists like Roy Blunt and Sarah Palin to help fund her campaign,” a Hirono aide said in a campaign email. “[T]hose are the interests she’d be serving if elected to the U.S. Senate.”
Early Wednesday morning, Lingle’s campaign responded — and went on the record in opposition to Blunt’s amendment.
“If the Hirono camp had done its homework, it would have known that Governor Lingle and Mazie Hirono share the same position on the Blunt amendment,” Lingle campaign manager Bob Lee said in a statement. “[N]either supports the broadly crafted language of the amendment.”
Lingle’s campaign defended the decision to fundraise with Blunt, likely giving more fuel to Democrats who want to use the divisive Blunt amendment against her in a blue state Senate race.
“Gov. Lingle knows it hurts the state of Hawaii to make the kind of personal attack Hirono has made against United States Sen. Roy Blunt,” Lee said. “I think Sen. Inouye would agree with me since throughout his career he has been a calm and steady voice who always represented our state with class.”
Inouye has made clear in the past he’s backing Hirono in the race.
The Hirono campaign could not be reached for comment. But the DSCC was ready with a preview of what Lingle will face now that the fundraiser is over.
“In typical partisan fashion, Linda Lingle loyally stands by her national party long enough to collect checks and shake down conservative donors,” said Matt Canter, communications director at the DSCC. “Is she also changing her support for Sarah Palin, her opposition to the Buffet Rule or her tacit endorsement for the Republican plan to end Medicare?”
This post has been updated to reflect a campaign email from Rep. Mazie Hirono was sent by an aide, not the candidate.