Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski traveled to Hawaii on Monday to lend her support to former Gov. Linda Lingle's bid to succeed Democrat Daniel Akaka in the U.S. Senate.
"I'm looking for help in the U.S. Senate," said Murkowski, a Republican, in a phone interview. "We need someone who can come to Washington with passion for the people that she represents" and an "ability to work across the aisle."
Murkowski's endorsement comes on the heels of Lingle's endorsement by Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young, also a Republican.
In July, Young had appeared in a side-by-side television commercial called "Opposites Attract," endorsing Democrat Mazie Hirono in her primary contest against former Hawaii Congressman Ed Case.
When asked for comment on Young's endorsement, the Hirono campaign released a statement from campaign manager Betsy Lin.
She said: "Republican Linda Lingle should be proud to have the support of national Republicans in their quest to take control of the U.S. Senate. It's impressive that 26 Republican U.S. senators have publicly backed her. What the people of Hawaii continue to be confused by is how this in any way demonstrates that she would be a bipartisan or independent member of the U.S. Senate."
Murkowski said she believes that by being elected as a Republican governor in a strong Democratic state and working for eight years with a Democrat-dominated Legislature, Lingle has shown the ability to work with people to "bridge differences and find common ground."
"That's exactly what we need in Washington," the senator said.
Murkowski said she's viewed as a more moderate Republican in Congress, and there isn't necessarily a Republican or Democratic way to solve problems. She said it's necessary to find common ground on issues to "help bust out of the gridlock" in Congress.
"It takes an individual who's not afraid to make the tough decisions and who can move out of the political confines of party to find consensus," she said.
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.