This article presents an unbiased comparison of the political positions and policies of Linda Lingle and Mazie Hirono, candidates for the 2012 Senate Elections in Hawaii. It was a very competitive race, which is unusual for Hawaii because the state typically votes Democratic and does not tend to unseat incumbents. Neither candidate was an incumbent and Democrat Hirono defeated Republican Lingle to win the election.
Linda Lingle is a member of the Republican party and has served as the 6th Governor of Hawaii from 2002-2010. She was the first Republican elected governor and the first female governor of Hawaii.
Mazie Hirono was the Democratic nominee. She ran against (and lost to) Lingle during the 2002 Gubernatorial elections. She is a lawyer and politician by profession.
Early Life and Career
Linda Lingle was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1953 and received her bachelor's degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge in 1975. Before entering politics, she worked as a journalist and started the Molokai Free Press, a community newspaper. She was elected Mayor in 1991 and then in 1994. She stood for the 1998 Gubernatorial election where she lost to Benjamin J Cayetano in one of the closest election in Hawaii's history. In 2002, she was elected as the Governor of Hawaii and then re-elected in 2006.
Mazie Hirono was born in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, in 1947. She earned a BA in psychology from University of Hawaii in 1970 and JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 1978. She practiced law in Honolulu, HI before being elected to Hawaii's 12th house district. She was elected Lieutenant Governor (1994–2002). She has held the U.S. House of Representatives in Hawaii's 2nd congressional district (2007–present). She lost against Linda Lingle during the 2002 Gubernatorial elections and is rerunning against Linda during the 2012 Hawaii Senate Elections.
Differences in Economic Policy
Mazie Hirono supports eliminating tax breaks for the rich (2%). She supported the extension of Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) exemptions for middle class and closing the AMT relief for offshore businesses.
Linda Lingle supports expansion of tourism industry, prioritizing defense spending, energy growth and enforcing international trade agreements. 
Mazie Hirono supported the $192B anti-recession stimulus package, $15B bailout plan for GM and Chrysler and $60B stimulus package for jobs & energy. She opposes terminating the Home Affordable mortgage program. 
Linda Lingle has not spoken about social security.
Mazie Hirono opposes raising the retirement age and privatization of social security. 
Mazie Hirono opposes Ryan's Budget program, the The Path to Prosperity to reform Medicare program. She also supports regulating tobacco as a drug and expanding children health insurance and childhood cancer programs. 
Mazie Hirono supports a women's choice for a legal abortion. She supports expanding stem cell research and continue extending federal health coverage for abortion.
Mazie Hirono has not spoken about immigration.
Linda Lingle has not spoken about gay rights during the current campaign season. But, while serving as governor, Lingle vetoed a bill that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples.
Linda Lingle has not spoken about women's rights.
Mazie Hirono opposes gender based pay discrimination 
Linda Lingle supports teacher's merit pay increase in schools and wants to expand charter school. She also supports participating in President Obama’s Race to the Top Grant Program that can earn $75 million for federal education. 
Mazie Hirono supports improving early-childhood education programs and reforming the No Child Left Behind Law. She supports spending $40B for green public school programs, $10B for improving federal education and $25B for renovating the elementary schools.  
Differences in Foreign Policy
Linda Lingle has not spoken about foreign issues.
Mazie Hirono opposes removing US troops from Afghanistan. 
The first debate between Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle was held on September 6, 2012 and was a fiesty affair. Some highlights are presented below:
The second debate was held on October 8 and was sponsored by AARP. Highlights below:
The final debate was held on October 22 and saw the two candidates continuing to attack each other. Hirono criticized Lingle for praising George Bush and supporting the Palin-McCain and Romney-Ryan tickets.
Lingle vs Hirono in Opinion Polls
Hirono leads Lingle in early opinion polls in the state.
|Poll source|| Date(s)|
|Jan van Lohuizen||October 9-16, 2012||47%||43%|
|Honolulu Civil Beat/Merriman River Group||September 26–28, 2012||55%||39%|
|Honolulu Star-Advertiser||July 12–21, 2012||58%||39%|
|Honolulu Civil Beat/Merriman River Group||June 5–7, 2012||49%||44%|
|Public Policy Polling||May 16–17, 2012||50%||41%|
|Honolulu Star-Advertiser||January 26 – Feb 5, 2012||57%||37%|
|Honolulu Civil Beat/Merriman River Group||January 18–19, 2011||46%||39%|
|Public Policy Polling||October 13–16, 2011||48%||42%|
|Honolulu Star-Advertiser||May 4–10, 2011||57%||35%|
|Public Policy Polling||March 24–27, 2011||52%||40%|