President Barack Obama has endorsed Senator Brian Schatz in Hawaii's U.S. Senate election, according to a statement from the Senator's campaign office.
The endorsement could prove to be key for Schatz, who chaired President Obama's 2008 campaign efforts in Hawaii, as he enters a challenging race against fellow Democrat and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa.
President Obama, the statement says, pointed to Senator Schatz's effective leadership in the Senate and his work to protect Social Security and fight for middle-class families.
"I have worked with Senator Schatz on the issues that matter to Hawaii," President Obama said. "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."
Washington D.C. newspaper "The Hill" also reports that some members of Senator Schatz's staff are former Obama aides.
Senator Schatz says he is "honored" to receive the President's endorsement in the election.
"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," Senator Schatz said in a statement. "I will work together with President Obama to continue moving Hawaii and America forward."
On Monday, we reached out to Rep. Hanabusa's campaign for comment and were told a statement would be released shortly.