Abercrombie, who served as Hawaii’s governor from 2010 to 2014, cited Gabbard’s presidential campaign as reasoning for his decision, claiming it was distracting her from representing the island.
The former governor, who previously served in Congress for nearly two decades, said it was “quite clear” that Gabbard was “unable” to fulfill her duties to the people of Hawaii whilst simultaneously running for the Democratic nomination.
“She’s missed virtually all of the votes so far,” he said in a press conference on Monday.
“Whatever her future holds in terms of a presidential campaign, I think in order for the people of Hawaii to be properly represented, she should resign the seat and allow a special election to take place,” he added.
According to GovTrack, 38-year-old Gabbard missed 125 of the 146 votes taken in the House from October through December.
She was also the only member to vote “present” on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec. 18, claiming she “could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing.”
“I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country,” she said in a statement.
Gabbard, who has represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013, announced in October that she would not be seeking reelection in order to focus on her presidential campaign.
“Throughout my life, I’ve been motivated by a desire to serve the people of Hawaii and our country, and have made my decisions based upon where I felt I could do the most good,” she said in a statement.
“At this time when our country is so divided, and our world is moving ever closer to a nuclear holocaust; a time when we may be sucked into another even more disastrous war in the Middle East, and tensions with other nuclear powers are escalating, and with that, a new arms race and Cold War that can only end in nuclear catastrophe, I believe I can best serve the people of Hawaiʻi and our country as your President and Commander-in-Chief.”
Gabbard was elected to Congress in 2012, and previously served in the Hawaii Army National Guard in a combat zone in Iraq 2004 to 2005. She was also deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009, making her the first female combat veteran to run for president.
Her district includes rural and suburban Oahu, all of Maui County, Hawaii County, and Kauai County.
Gabbard is considered a long shot to win the Democratic presidential nomination and did not qualify for last week’s debate. According to a polling average from RealClearPolitics, she is currently polling at less than 2 percent nationally.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Gabbard said in a statement that the congresswoman is working hard for her district even as she runs for the White House.
“Hawaii is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s home and her heart. Just this session, she has secured major legislative wins for Hawaii, including better reporting on Red Hill aquifer protection, consultation between the military and Native Hawaiians, helping our veterans affected by toxic burn pits, opportunities for defense contracting for Native Hawaiian companies, and more,” they said.
“Her pursuit of the highest office in the land has not compromised her and her team’s commitment to serving the people of Hawaii in her fourth term in Congress.”