WASHINGTON — Former Democratic President Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii, announced Friday that he was endorsing state Sen. Kai Kahele for Congress.

Kahele, a Democrat, is running for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, a seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who decided against running for re-election after an unsuccessful presidential campaign.

President Barack Obama waves to audience after foundation speech at the East West Center.
Former President Barack Obama is trying to help Democrats, including Hawaii congressional candidate Kai Kahele, win elections across the U.S. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

Kahele did not face much opposition in the Democratic primary and, due to Hawaii’s long-standing leftward political leanings, is almost certain to win in the November general election against little-known Republican candidate Joe Akana.

Obama has issued two rounds of endorsements in 2020.

The first wave came in August when he announced his support for 118 Democrats in state and federal races across the country. At the time, no Hawaii candidates made the cut.

Obama’s final round of endorsements, which included Kahele, came Friday. He endorsed 111 candidates in 21 states.

“I’m proud to endorse these outstanding Democratic candidates who will work to get the virus under control, rebuild the economy and the middle class, and protect Americans’ health care and preexisting conditions protections from Republican assault,” Obama said in a statement.

“They’re dedicated to shoring up and strengthening our democracy, a project that’s going to take time and require all of us — but it begins by electing Democrats right now.”

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