- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is endorsing former Gov. Ted Strickland in his race for the U.S. Senate, while Democratic primary opponent P.G. Sittenfeld has landed the backing of Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.

Both endorsements came Tuesday, a week before Strickland, Sittenfeld and Cincinnati occupational therapist Kelli Prather vie for the Democratic nomination and a chance to face incumbent GOP Sen. Rob Portman in November.

Anti-gun violence advocate Giffords, shot during a 2011 event in her congressional district, joined husband Mark Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut, in calling Strickland the best candidate to “protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners like us” while standing up to the powerful gun lobby.

Hamill, who plays sci-fi hero Luke Skywalker, released a YouTube video predicting Sittenfeld would be “a very forceful senator” supporting gun safety.

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