Lingle won't say who she's backing in Hawaii GOP caucuses

Lingle told The Hill in October that she'd support any of the Republican candidates in the race except Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

"Unless the Republican candidate was Ron Paul I would be voting for the Republican candidate," she said then. "I don't think anyone would be surprised by that. I like them all."

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Lingle has trailed Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), the Democratic front-runner, in most polls. But she developed a relatively centrist pedigree during her years as governor and gives Republicans their best shot at winning the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), and the GOP is hopeful a testy primary between Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) will give them an opening in the race.

Democrats have sought to tie Lingle to the national Republican Party in the liberal-leaning state, blasting her for a recent fundraiser she held with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the author of a controversial bill that would overturn the Obama administration's requirement that all insurance companies cover the costs of contraception. They likely will try to tie her to whomever emerges as the Republican nominee.