Linda Lingle

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Linda Lingle
Linda Lingle.jpg
Candidate for
U.S. Senate, Hawaii
Prior offices
Former Governor of Hawaii
Date of birthJune 4, 1953
Campaign website
Linda Lingle (b. Linda Cutter on June 4, 1953) was Governor of Hawaii from 2002 until 2010. Lingle ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Hawaii. Lingle won the nomination in the Republican primary on August 11, 2012 but lost the general election on November 6, 2012 to Mazie Hirono (D).[1][2]

Lingle holds a few distinctions: first Republican elected governor in Hawaii in forty years since the departure of William F. Quinn in 1962, first county mayor elected governor in Hawaii, first female elected governor in Hawaii, first Jewish governor in Hawaii; the first twice-divorced governor of Hawaii; and the first not to have any children. During the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, Lingle served as chairwoman of the convention during the absence of permanent chairman Dennis Hastert from the convention floor.

Prior to her gubernatorial administration, Lingle served as Maui County mayor, council member, and chaired the Hawaii Republican Party. As of November 20, 2006, her approval rating stood at 71% with only 24% disapproval.


Born Linda Cutter in St. Louis, Missouri, Lingle moved with her family to Southern California when she was 12. She graduated from Birmingham High School in Lake Balboa, California, then received her bachelor's degree in journalism cum laude from California State University, Northridge in 1975.

Soon after, she followed her father to Hawaii, working first in Honolulu as a public information officer for the Teamsters and Hotel Workers Union. Later, she moved to Molokai, where she started the Molokai Free Press, a community newspaper which became a big hit.

Political Career

Governor 2002 - 2010

Lingle enjoyed high approval ratings, usually around the 70% range, but her popularity had its limits. Lingle spent much of 2004 campaigning for state legislative candidates (the legislature has a Democratic super majority and she wanted to have enough members to block them from overriding her vetoes) and for President George W. Bush on the "mainland" (the states outside of Hawaii and Alaska). When some polling late in the election showed Bush tied or narrowly leading Democrat John Kerry, Lingle jumped at the chance to help the Republicans carry her state for the first time since 1984. Vice President Dick Cheney even campaigned in the state. Ultimately, not only did Kerry win the state, but Republicans lost five seats in the state legislature, reducing their presence to near single-digits and causing the Democrats to consider Lingle more vulnerable than they initially expected. In spite of their new confidence, Lingle was re-elected after her 2006 re-election campaign.

As governor her greatest accomplishments are creating a record surplus of $730 million. Before that, the budget was in a $250 million budget deficit. She is also is credited for developing a strong economy, leaving Hawaii with a very low unemployment rate. She is also popular for signing in the Three Strikes Law Bill and Sex Offender Registry Website. In education, she has attempted to divide the State Board of Education into seven local school boards, but has failed. One of her biggest controversial issues is the practice of sending prisoners to the mainland, as opposed to building a new prison in Hawaii.[3] In 1980, Lingle was elected to the Maui County Council, where she served five two-year terms. Lingle served three of those terms representing Molokai and two terms as an at-large member. Upon the 1990 retirement of Hannibal Tavares as mayor of Maui County, Lingle decided to challenge former Maui mayor and Hawaii State Speaker of the House of Representatives Elmer Cravalho for the seat. Despite polls showing Lingle trailing far behind her Democratic opponent, Lingle proved victorious. The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspapers declared the election one of the biggest upsets in Hawaii political history. She became the youngest person elected to the office at the age of 37, as well as the first woman. In 1994, Lingle easily won re-election.

Maui County, under the leadership of Mayor Lingle, implemented performance-based budgeting. Its successful passage and execution earned for Lingle the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for four years. Mayor Lingle was also credited for attracting tourism and job growth to Maui County during a period when the state tourism industry was struggling.

Stimulus to schools not meeting AYP

Lingle announced on October 28, 2010 that she has authorized the use of $5,208,793 in federal stimulus funds to support Extended Learning Opportunities for students at public schools that have not met Adequate Yearly Progress.

In Hawaii, Extended Learning Opportunities add instructional time to the scheduled school day. When this change is implemented, it also adds classes during Saturdays, semester breaks and summers. The extended periods aim to help students who need remedial instruction or who miss classes and need more credits to graduate.

“These federal funds will provide additional support to students by giving them extra instructional time to help them in their coursework and improve their overall achievement, thereby improving the performance of our schools,” said Governor Lingle. “I appreciate the work by the Department of Education to identify schools that will benefit from the federal funding and help their students in the classroom.”

The $5.2 million funding is part of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Part B made available to the state as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in February 2009.[4]



See also: United States Senate elections in Hawaii, 2012
U.S. Senate, Hawaii General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMazie Hirono 61.7% 269,489
     Republican Linda Lingle 36.8% 160,994
     N/A Blank Votes 1.5% 6,599
Total Votes 437,082
Source: Hawaii Office of Elections "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Lingle ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Hawaii. Lingle won the nomination on the Republican ticket.[5][2][6] Lingle defeated John Carroll, Charles Collins, Eddie Pirkowski, and John Roco in the Republican primary. Candidates Steve Tataii, Michael Gillespie, Antonio Gimbernat, Mazie Hirono, Arturo Reyes, and Ed Case ran in the Democratic primary. The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run was June 5, 2012. The primary elections were held on August 11, 2012. Lingle was defeated in the general election by Democratic primary winner Mazie Hirono.[7]


Lingle was endorsed by Alaska Representative Don Young in the general election after Young endorsed her opponent Mazie Hirono in the Democratic primary. He endorsed her because her victory could help Republicans gain control of the center.[8]


Mazie Hirono v. Linda Lingle
Poll Mazie Hirono Linda LingleDon't KnowOtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Ward Research Inc.
(October 15-22, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Gubernatorial election

In 2006, Governor Lingle announced her candidacy for re-election as Governor of Hawaii. In the Democratic Party, many people were speculated to run, but many of them declined, including State Senator Colleen Hanabusa, then Senate President Bobby Bunda] former Congressman Ed Case (who ran for U.S. Senate), U.S. Congressman Neil Abercrombie, and Big Island Mayor Harry Kim. Despite the difficulty of finding an opponent for Lingle, former State Senator Randy Iwase decided to run for Governor. In the primary election he easily defeated Waianae Harbormaster William Aila Jr., and ended up with former Big Island State Senator Malama Solomon as his running mate. Over the course of the campaign, Iwase was considered an underdog who had only spent $340,000, compared to Lingle's $6 million dollars; in his ads, he constantly attacked Lingle over her relationship with President Bush and yet offered no substantive proposals relating to the state government. Governor Lingle won by the largest margin in state history, 63 percent to 35 percent.


Gubernatorial campaign

Barred from seeking a third term, Cayetano announced his retirement from political service in 2002. Having become even more popular among Hawaii residents, Lingle was nominated as the Republican candidate for the office of Governor of Hawaii. As Hawaii Democrats nominated incumbent Lieutenant Governor Mazie K. Hirono, national focus turned to Hawaii as it set up one of the few woman versus woman gubernatorial races in United States history.

Lingle ran on her Agenda for New Beginnings, a specially crafted campaign platform developed to promote Republican leadership and highlight the perceived failures of the previous forty years of Democratic administration of the state. It also cited differences between Lingle's message and previous, more conservative platforms Hawaii Republicans had advocated.

Focusing less on her mayoral accomplishments and more on the message of reform, Lingle won the election alongside former state judge James Aiona, who became Lingle's lieutenant governor.


Gubernatorial campaign

Lingle would once again attempt an upset victory, this time in pursuit of the governor's office in 1998. Barred from seeking a third term as mayor of Maui, Lingle was nominated by the Hawaii Republican Party to run against incumbent Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano. Republican party members believed that Lingle was the best shot at the office and that 1998 would probably be the only chance the party would have of ever winning. Lingle capitalized on the anger of Hawaii residents over the stagnant economy and their dissatisfaction with the strategies employed by the Democrats in attempt to solve the problem. Cayetano trailed in the media polls heading into the November election but on the evening of the election, Cayetano and Lingle were separated by a single percentage point forcing a recount. Lingle was defeated in the closest election in Hawaii history.

The state Democratic Party was accused, although there was no evidence, of launching a whispering campaign that alleged that Lingle was a lesbian, and that because she was Jewish, she would abolish Christmas as a state holiday. [9]

Republican leadership

After being defeated, Lingle was elected chair of the Hawaii Republican Party. She served from 1999 to 2002. During her tenure as party chair, Lingle overhauled party policies and gave the party a face lift she believed was needed to make the party competitive in a historically Democrat-dominated state. Internal reforms proved successful and Lingle succeeded in electing more Republicans to seats in both houses of the Hawaii State Legislature. At the peak of Republican success, the party held 19 of the 51 seats in the state House of Representatives. Party membership grew as younger people joined. Republicans gained a more youthful appearance and had reinvented itself informally as the new GOP Hawaii. Governor Lingle is a member of The Wish List The Nation's largest fundraising and campaign political action committee for Pro-choice Republican Women and The Republican Majority For Choice.

Campaign donors


Breakdown of the source of Lingle's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Lingle lost election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Lingle's campaign committee raised a total of $5,865,323 and spent $5,839,282.[10]

As of July 13, 2012 Lingle had raised $1.1 million in the second quarter.[11]

Lingle went on to raise $823,000 in the third quarter.[12]


Lingle was married and divorced twice. She married her first husband, Charles Lingle, while in college, in 1972. Upon leaving California for Hawaii, she divorced him in 1975 but kept the Lingle name. During her term as mayor of Maui County, Lingle divorced her second husband, Maui attorney William Crockett, to whom she was married from 1986 to 1997. Lingle is currently single and does not have any children.

See also

External links