HONOLULU - U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono got a surprise endorsement Friday in her Senate campaign against former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle: Lingle's opponent in the Republican primary.
Honolulu attorney John Carroll gave Hirono a kiss on the cheek and an endorsement in the general election after losing soundly to Lingle in the Republican primary earlier this month.
Of the idea of voting for Lingle, Carroll said: "It's worse than poor; it's just dangerous."
John Carroll and U.S. Rep Mazie Hirono appear at Hirono’s Senate campaign headquarters in Honolulu on Friday.
"(Hirono is) the only option for Senate in my book right now. And that's between her and Lingle," he said. "I'm looking at Lingle's decision-making capability, and I just don't see it as being trustworthy."
Carroll said he's fine with Lingle's character but has no confidence that she knows what she's doing. He said he has no idea how Lingle will vote on any major issues.
Lingle campaign spokesman Lenny Klompus said in a statement that Carroll was never a serious candidate and was trying to put himself in the limelight with an endorsement that isn't serious.
"Most endorsements are special and meaningful, while others don't mean a hill of beans," Klompus said. "John Carroll falls into the latter group."
Despite endorsing Hirono, the Republican who received just under 6 percent of the vote in his primary said he would have been the best pick of all.
"If you add her qualifications with Ed Case and Linda Lingle, they still don't add up to what I brought to the table," Carroll said, Hirono at his side.
Hirono beat Case, a former congressman, in the Democratic primary.
Hirono says the nod is another example of her ability to work with anyone.
"This is why (Alaska U.S. Rep.) Don Young also endorsed me - to do more of this," Hirono said.
The endorsement is the second recent example of Hirono drawing a Republican backer, after Young agreed to back her in the primary and film a campaign commercial with her. The humorous ad was a nod to a 2008 ad that featured Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi together on a couch urging lawmakers to address global warming.
It's not clear what - if any - kind of bump Carroll can offer Hirono. Carroll drew 2,900 votes in the Republican primary, less than 13 times the margin that Hirono beat Case by. Hirono drew nearly 135,000 votes.
Far more people voted in the Democratic primary than the Republican primary. Lingle has said she's not worried about that disparity because the Democrats had a tighter race and Hawaii voters can pick which primary they want to vote in.
Her argument has been that it's better for Hawaii to have its federal delegation split with one Republican and one Democrat, so Hawaii has a say no matter which party is in power in Washington.