It should come as little surprise that Mazie Hirono’s campaign is trying to use Monday’s “Democrats for Lingle” brouhaha to raise money. But by doing so, she may have stepped into it herself.
In an email to supporters, campaign manager Betsy Lin asks for $5 to help “fight back” against the “misleading” ad. Between donation requests, Lin tries to reinforce the idea that Linda Lingle’s “true allegiance [is] to the national Republican Party.” The email includes this claim:
In fact, on Thursday, Lingle will be attending a fundraising event in Washington, D.C. with the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell — the same Mitch McConnell who said his number one objective is to defeat island son Barack Obama this November. And if she wins, Lingle’s first vote would be to make Mitch McConnell the next Senate majority leader.
The event invitation, made available by the Sunlight Foundation, seems to bill the fundraiser as a reception with Lingle. But there’s just one problem with that assumption: Lingle won’t actually be attending. Lingle campaign manager Bob Lee said she’ll be in Hawaii, “listening to the people.”
Claire Willis of the Virginia-based Aristeia Group is handling RSVPs for Thursday’s event. Willis told me this afternoon that while the fundraiser is indeed on Lingle’s behalf, she’ll Skyping in so event attendees can dialogue directly with her. It’s a technique Lingle has used before in lieu of traveling to the nation’s capital.
Lee used the fundraiser barb to raise the issue of Hirono’s absence from Washington, writing in his email, “Where was Mazie last week? Not in DC when the House was in session for sure….more missed votes. Just plain not on the job!”
Is Hirono in town this week? That’s harder to say. Congress is closed for a Jewish holiday, and a number of emails to and phone messages left for her public relations staff have gone unanswered.
UPDATE 5:35 p.m. EST: To be clear, my calls earlier were specifically to Hirono’s congressional office here in Washington — not her Senate campaign, and not her Hawaii field offices. Campaign Communications Director Kinsey Kiriakos told me a few minutes ago Hirono has been in Hawaii since Saturday and will fly to Washington Wednesday to vote on Thursday and Friday. After that, she’ll fly back to Hawaii, just as she did after last week’s votes.
— Michael Levine