HONOLULU – President Barack Obama on March 31 endorsed Sen. Brian Schatz in Hawaii’s U.S. Senate election.
Schatz, who was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in December 2012 to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, will face Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary. He previously served as lieutenant governor. It is believed that whoever wins the primary will win the general election.
Obama, who was born in Hawaii and often vacations there with his family, pointed to Schatz’s effective leadership in the Senate and his work to protect Social Security, promote clean energy, and fight for middle-class families.
“I have worked with Sen. Schatz on the issues that matter to Hawaii. Brian’s deep commitment to the people of Hawaii and his effective leadership are why I believe it is important to return him to the Senate,” said Ob
ama. “Sen. Schatz is protecting Hawaii’s values and fighting every day on behalf of middle-class families. There is no question that Sen. Schatz is the right choice to continue delivering for Hawaii.”
“I’m honored to receive President Obama’s endorsement in this critical election and I am proud to be one of the president’s most steadfast allies in the U.S. Senate,” said Schatz. “President Obama personally understands Hawaii’s values and is committed to making sure that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules is given a fair shot. I will work together with President Obama to continue moving Hawaii and America forward.”
Schatz was an early supporter of Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. Hanabusa backed then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Schatz’s other endorsers include former Vice President Al Gore, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and Democracy for America, a progressive group founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
Hanabusa’s endorsers include former Sen. Daniel Akaka, former Gov. George Ariyoshi, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, Irene Hirano Inouye (the senator’s widow), the United Public Workers Union, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, and Emily’s List, a pro-Democratic women’s group.