President Barack Obama is urging Hawaii voters to support a Democrat in this month's congressional election in the urban Honolulu district where he was born.
Obama's 40-second recorded telephone message was expected to be released Tuesday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Tens of thousands of automated phone calls will be made.
"I need a Democrat that will support my agenda in Congress," Obama says. "I need someone that will hold Wall Street and the big special interests accountable. It's crucial that you vote and that you vote Democratic."
Democrats fear that a Republican could take over the Honolulu district they've held for 19 years following the May 22 election.
Two Democrats, former U.S. Rep. Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, are running against Republican Honolulu Councilman Charles Djou in the winner-take-all special election. The winner will serve the remainder of the term of Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who resigned to run for governor.
Obama refrains from endorsing either Democrat in the race, despite worries that they could split the vote and allow the Republican candidate to win.
"If Obama is just running a general 'vote for a Democrat' message, they've got to be really desperate," said Jonah Kaauwai, chairman of the Republican Party of Hawaii. "I don't think it's going to matter. The people in this special election are voting independently from President Obama."
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