Rep. Tulsi Gabbard ‘Committed’ to Running for President, Won’t Seek House Re-Election

October 25, 2019 Updated: October 25, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said she won’t seek re-election to her House seat as she focuses on winning the race for president.

“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 said in a statement late Oct. 24.

Gabbard said she was grateful to the people of Hawaii for electing her several times to represent them in Congress.

“Throughout my life, I’ve always made my decisions based on where I felt I could do the most good. In light of the challenges we face, I believe I can best serve the people of Hawaiʻi & our country as President and Commander-in-Chief,” Gabbard said.

“As president, I will immediately begin work to end the new cold war & nuclear arms race end our interventionist foreign policy of being the world’s police, toppling dictators and governments we don’t like, and redirect our precious resources towards serving the needs of the people here at home.”

Gabbard, 38, easily won the 2018 election for her House seat, garnering over 77 percent of the vote. She was first elected in 2012 and started in Congress the next year.

Gabbard has struggled in the Democratic presidential race, often polling behind 8 to 12 other candidates. Her average among all nationwide polls is currently 1.3 percent, good for 10th.

tulsi gabbard
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) speaks during the fourth Democratic 2020 debate in Westerville, Ohio on Oct. 15, 2019. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

She has had some breakout moments during the debates she’s qualified for, including criticizing Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for her time as a prosecutor and calling out the New York Times and CNN for smearing her.

Gabbard was thrust back into the spotlight last week when 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost to President Donald Trump, implied Gabbard was favored by Rusia.

“They’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said during a podcast. A spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that she was referring to Republicans who have their eye on a Democratic candidate.

“She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset,” Clinton continued, without referring to Gabbard by name.

“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.”

Gabbard hit back, calling Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long” and later adding Clinton was speaking out because she “won’t be able to control me” if Gabbard was elected.

Janita Kan contributed to this report.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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