WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is endorsing Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz in his primary race against Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

That’s according to a Democratic National Committee official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about it before Obama’s announcement. .

The race has become divisive in heavily Democratic Hawaii. Schatz and Hanabusa are both Democrats. Hawaii’s governor appointed Schatz to replace Sen. Daniel Inouye after he died in 2012, despite Inouye’s preference for Hanabusa. She’s challenging Schatz in the primary for what would be his first full term.

Obama was born in Hawaii and remains popular there, so his backing could give Schatz a boost in the Aug. 9 primary. Schatz was an early Obama supporter.

The Huffington Post first reported the endorsement.

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