Lingle blasts GOP Rep. after he backs her Dem opponent

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, center, announces the tsunami warning has been canceled while speaking at a news conference at the State Civil Defense Emergency Operation Center, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 in Honolulu. After an initial wave surge, there was no reported damage state wide.Special Section: Earthquake in Chile
AP Photo/Marco Garcia
Linda Lingle.
AP Photo/Marco Garcia

(CBS News) After longtime Republican Rep. Don Young endorsed her Democratic opponent on Tuesday, Linda Lingle, the former Republican governor of Hawaii now running for Senate, is calling into question Young's credibility - as well as the judgment of the candidate he endorsed.

Mazie Hirono, who is expected to be the Democratic nominee for Hawaii's Senate race, on Tuesday unveiled the endorsement of Young, a 20-term Republican congressman from Alaska, in an ad entitled "Opposites Attract."

"While Mazie and I don't see eye to eye on everything, we've done something too many people in Washington refuse to cross the aisle and do: We've worked together," says Young in the spot, after touting his Republican credentials. "If you're looking for a United States senator who doesn't just talk about bipartisanship but actually knows how to work with both Republicans and Democrats to get things done, Mazie Hirono will be that senator."

The Lingle campaign was quick to target Hirono for seeking the support of Young, who it blasted as "one of the House of Representatives's most controversial members."

"It should be troubling to the people of Hawaii that Mazie Hirono's first attempt to convey any example of bipartisanship is a video advertisement with one of the House of Representatives's most controversial members, who even Mazie's fellow Democrats have criticized on a range of ethics and spending issues," Lingle's campaign manager Bob Lee said. "This is not the leadership Hawaii needs."

Young has been the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation over campaign donations, although he was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing. He was also investigated by the Justice Department over charges of political corruption, but the charges were ultimately dropped.

The race in Hawaii is expected to be close, and Republicans see an opportunity to pick up a seat in the open race. Lingle, who served two terms as governor, is a well-known name in the Democratic-leaning state - and she's also launched her own cable channel in Hawaii aimed at interacting with voters and promoting her campaign.