Normally, even an open Senate seat in a state as Democratic as Hawaii wouldn’t be likely to spark a competitive election. But the retirement of Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka paves the way for former Gov. Linda Lingle to become the first Republican to make a serious run for one of the Aloha State’s two Senate seats since the days of Hiram Fong. Republicans won a special congressional election there last year when the Democrats were divided, though they lost the seat again in November when Democrats were unified. At the very least, Lingle would put another seat in play and force the Democrats to spend money in a normally safe state. The 2012 Senate races are shaping up to be very tough terrain for Democrats.