Republican Don Young endorses Democrat Mazie Hironi in Hawaii

ByRachel Rose Hartman
July 24, 2012, 4:44 PM

— -- Rep. Don Young is anything but conventional. But the Alaska Republican appeared to take that reputation to a new level Tuesday by crossing oceans and party lines to make a very unusual endorsement.

Young announced his endorsement of Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono in the Hawaii Democratic Senate primary.

"Here's what's important, Hawaii: If you're looking for a United States Senator who doesn't just talk about 'bipartisanship,' but actually knows how to work with both Republicans and Democrats to get things done," Young said in a new campaign ad poking fun at the two candidates' opposing ideologies. "Mazie Hirono will be that Senator."

Lawmakers in Hawaii and Alaska have long been linked by their status as outsiders to the lower 48 states. In this instance, Young is siding with Hirono who is up against former Rep. Ed Case, who rankled scores of establishment politicians in Hawaii as well as Washington in 2006 by attempting to oust longtime Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka, who is retiring this year.

The Hirono campaign in a release touted Hirono and Young's joint efforts on native education programs as well as to assist farmers in their respective states.

Hawaii is typically a Democratic-leaning state where Democratic primaries are often the deciding contests. But there's one Republican who turns that trend on its head: Republican former Gov. Linda Lingle, who is running in this year's Senate race. Lingle's presence gives Republicans their ultimate best shot at overtaking the seat this fall, making Young's decision to endorse Hirono all the more unusual.

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