Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) was quick to hit back at Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) for touting an endorsement from Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), criticizing Young as "controversial" and alluding to his past ethics issues.


"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 campaign manager Bob Lee said in a statement late Tuesday night, after Hirono released a Web video touting Young's endorsement. "This is not the leadership Hawaii needs."

Young's backing of Hirono was unusual, though Alaska's and Hawaii's congressional delegations have long been close and worked across party lines for their mutual interests.

The House Ethics Committee investigated Young's campaign donations, and while it ruled he hadn't broken any House rules, it closed a loophole that had allowed him to receive a high level of donations from one family for his legal fund. The Justice Department also investigated Young as part of a probe on Alaska political corruption, but dropped its case in 2010.

Hirono is batting back a challenge from former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii), but most expect her to be the nominee against Lingle in the heavily Democratic state.