Several of the “Democrats for Lingle” featured in a new Senate campaign ad for Hawaii Republican Linda Lingle are not Democrats at all. Some have even run for office as Republicans.
Lingle must win over independent voters and some Democrats in order to win in her deep-blue home state in November. Lingle’s willingness to reach across the aisle, which she highlights in the new web ad and in other spots, is meant to appeal to those voters. But several of the people featured in the ad appear to be Republican officials and candidates for state office.
“I’m a Democrat, and I’m voting for Linda Lingle,” says a woman identified as Elaine Slavinsky. But in 2004, Slavinsky ran for the Hawaii state Senate as a Republican, calling for less government spending. “I think we keep adding more and more programs and not tightening our belts to shrink government,” Slavinsky said during her 2004 campaign.
Another woman in the ad, identified as Jan Shishido, says that Lingle is “going to work with both parties to get things done.” Shishido appears to have been a Democrat many years ago, but in 2000 she ran the Maui County Republican Party, a position Lingle appointed Shishido to when she was governor, according to a Pacific Business News report from 2000. Shishido also ran for the Hawaii state House in 2004 as a Republican.
World War II veteran Takashi Kitaoka also endorses Lingle in the ad. Kitaoka, who served as a Maui Circuit Court judge in the 1960s, was appointed by Hawaii’s Republican governor at the time and identified himself as a Republican in an interview from the Center for Oral History at the University of Hawaii.
The ad marks at least the second time this cycle a Republican has cast another Republican to play a Democrat in order to boost their bipartisan bona fides. The RNC released an ad earlier this month in which an RNC staffer pretended to be a disillusioned Obama supporter.
Spokesmen for the Lingle campaign and for the National Republican Senatorial Committee did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.