Obama Backs Incumbent Schatz in Hawaii's Senate Primary

President Obama today endorsed Sen. Brian Schatz over his challenger Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in Hawaii's competitive Democratic Senate primary.

"I have worked with Senator 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," President Obama said in a statement provided by Schatz's campaign.

"Senator Schatz is protecting Hawaii's values and fighting every day on behalf of middle-class families. There is no question that Senator Schatz is the right choice to continue delivering for Hawaii."

Schatz is running for his first full term after being appointed to the seat in December 2012 following the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye - a move which generated some controversy in the Aloha State. Before his death, Inouye indicated he wanted Hanabusa to fill his seat, but Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie went against the late senator's wishes and picked Schatz for the Senate seat.

"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," Schatz said. "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."

President Obama is widely popular in his home state of Hawaii, winning the state with 71 percent in the 2012 presidential election.

Schatz worked on Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in Hawaii while Hanabusa backed Hillary Clinton. Hanabusa has the endorsement of EMILY's List, an outside group devoted to electing Democratic women to office.

Hawaii's Democratic primary will take place Aug. 9 th.