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 HironoMazie Keiko HironoDem senators want list of White House officials with interim security clearances Dems send letter probing Kelly, McGahn over Porter allegations Dems call for probe into security clearances after WH aide resignation MORE (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 BluntRoy Dean BluntRussian assault on 'American idea' enables Trump to take tough action Eleven lawmakers have used campaign funds to pay NRA dues: report Kimmel writer tweets amount NRA has given lawmakers in response to shooting prayers MORE (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.