A new internal poll (via Politico) shows former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle ahead of one of her potential challengers and statistically tied with another in that state's U.S. Senate race. Lingle, a two-term Republican governor, leads Democratic congresswoman Mazie Hirono 45 percent to 40 percent and trails former Democratic congressman Ed Case by just 1 point, 41 percent to 40 percent.

The poll, conducted for the Lingle campaign by veteran GOP pollster Jan R. van Lohuizen, shows the Republican may have a chance at succeeding retiring Democrat Daniel Akaka. The August 11 Democratic primary will determine if Lingle will face Hirono or Case, and both candidates have led Lingle in most recent polls.

A Lingle-Hirono match-up would be a replay of the 2002 governor's race, when Lingle defeated Hirono by 5 points. But this year's Senate race still favors the Democrats, since deep-blue Hawaii will also have its native son, Barack Obama, at the top of the ticket.

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