Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Won’t Seek Re-Election Next Year

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (R-HI) addresses the crowd during the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls are converging on South Carolina this weekend for a host of events where the candidates can directly address an important …
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

2020 White House candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) announced late Thursday evening that she will not seek re-election to Congress next year.

“I’m fully committed to my offer to serve you, the people of Hawaii & America, as your President & Commander-in-Chief. So I will not be seeking reelection to Congress in 2020. I humbly ask for your support for my candidacy for President of the United States,” Gabbard wrote on Twitter.

Gabbard’s campaign has struggled to gain traction in a crowded Democrat primary field. An average of RealClearPolitics polls shows she sits at 1.3% nationwide. The presidential candidate has seen her profile rise in recent days after failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called her, without evidence, “the favorite of the Russians” and speculated that the Kremlin is “grooming’ her to run as a third-party candidate.

Appearing on a podcast hosted by David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, Clinton claimed of the Hawaii Democrat:

[Russia] has a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting [Gabbard] so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset.

They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it’s going to be, but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it.

Shortly after, Gabbard hit back at the Obama-era secretary of state in a series of tweets, branding her the “queen of warmongers” and accused her of being behind a New York Times hit piece

Gabbard, a four-term congresswoman and military combat veteran who served in Iraq, represents Hawaii’s Second Congressional District. She is the first Hindu elected to Congress and the first member born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. Gabbard announced her intention to seek the presidency on February 2nd during a rally on Oahu, Hawaii.

The 37-year-old became politically active in 2002, when voters elected her to represent the 42nd House District in the Hawaii House of Representatives. She was the youngest person elected to the state legislature at age 21.

Gabbard declined to run for re-election in 2004 when she joined the Army National Guard and volunteered to serve in Iraq. She served two tours of duty as a member of the 29th Support Battalion medical company. During her first 12-month tour, she received the Meritorious Service Medal and during her second tour, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduating from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy.

Gabbard re-entered politics in 2010 when voters elected her to the Honolulu City Council. There she served as chairwoman of the Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee and vice chairwoman of the Budget Committee.

She was elected to represent Hawaii in the House of Representatives in 2012.

Gabbard was one of the most prominent lawmakers to back Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over Clinton in the 2016 Democrat presidential primary. Her endorsement came in dramatic fashion, with her resigning as a vice chairwoman of the Democrat National Committee to express her support.

The Associated Press and UPI contributed to this story. 

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