Candidates for political office are always looking for a new way to attract attention and to win votes. Linda Lingle, a Republican running for Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat, has found one. She has her own TV channel.
True, it's a cable not network channel and its reach is not extensive. Still, Lingle is likely the first candidate in political history to provide would-be voters as well as casual viewers with an opportunity to view campaign and other videos about her and hr policies at all hours of the day and night. And if attracting attention is her goal, she's already done that.
Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report" recently took notice of Channel 110, a 24-hour cable channel. The national notice probably wasn't what Lingle had in mind, though. Colbert, in his usual satiric manner, wondered whether voters -- or anyone -- would watch what amounted to a nonstop campaign advertisement. There's no word from Hawaii yet on the number of viewers the captive channel attracts.
Lingle, though, probably is content to suffer Colbert's barbs in return for the programming provides. The program is likely to draw some attention in a state where both voter interest and turnout is often low. In that instance, anything that connects with voters and that might drive them to the polls is welcome. At any rate, Lingle's captive TV channel would seem to be a sound investment.
Reports say the channel costs the Lingle campaign about $13,000 weekly. As political advertising goes, that's cheap for around-the-clock exposure even if viewers will see little more than recycled, canned videos.
Lingle's campaign can afford the expense. It's awash in money. She's raised several million dollars -- much of it on the mainland and from groups with no apparent interest in Hawaii or its residents -- to finance here campaign. At one point, those who track campaign contributions say, Lingle, a former governor who seeks the seat of the retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Democrat, had raised more money than her top two Democratic rivals combined. Given the current political cmpaign contribution rules, that's hardly a surprise.
Lingle's campaign is not so stellar that it attracts bug bucks from deep-pocketed Republicans on the merits of her platform alone. Sure, some folk around the country support her, but a lot of the dollars flowing her way come from people and groups more interested in embarrassing Barack Obama than in who occupies Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat, as long as the new occupant is a Republican.
A Lingle victory -- propelled by a captive cable TV channel or not -- would bring special joy to Obama detractors. Hawaii, after all, is the president's home state.
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