'Star Trek' actor endorses Hanabusa

"Star Trek" actor George Takei is backing Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) in her primary campaign to unseat Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Takei, who's best known as Captain Hikaru Sulu from the hit sci-fi show and for his gay rights advocacy, penned a letter to Hanabusa's supporters asking for donations.

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"During my childhood, my family and I were interned in Rohwer prison camp in the swamps of southeast Arkansas and in Tule Lake in northern California because we looked like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. Like my family, Colleen Hanabusa's grandfathers were also sent to internment camps. Listening to her grandfathers' stories about that experience inspired Colleen at an early age to end discrimination and fight for equality," he says in the email that went out on Monday.

"As the first female State Senate President of Hawaii, Colleen pushed for justice and equality, including legislation granting civil unions to Hawaii's LGBT citizens. In Congress, she's been a leader for working families. And as Senator, she will be an experienced and effective champion for Hawaii. But she needs our help to get there. Colleen's race is virtually tied and your support will make a huge difference," he concludes.

Takei was friendly with the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), whose deathbed request was for Hanabusa to be appointed to his seat. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) instead chose Schatz.

Takei's endorsement hasn't always carried the day: Christine Quinn (D) didn't do well in her bid to be mayor of New York City despite a humorous campaign video from the actor.

Hanabusa is in a tough race against Schatz. She has higher name identifaction than the appointed senator, but most of the national party establishment is supporting his candidacy, and he has had stronger fundraising numbers at this point. The winner is the heavy favorite in the general election in the Democratic state.