Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced that she will no longer run for reelection in her Congressional district to focus on her presidential aspirations.
“I'm fully committed to my offer to serve you, the people of Hawaii & America, as your President & Commander-in-Chief,” Gabbard wrote on Twitter. “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 faced a tough primary challenge in Hawaii state Sen. Kai Kahele, who raised more money for his congressional campaign than Gabbard has raised from Hawaii residents for her presidential campaign. Gabbard’s focus on the presidential race left her congressional fundraising anemic, raising negative $20 in the second quarter.
A recent Hawaii poll showed that half of her constituents wanted someone else to fill her seat, though even more of her constituents urged her to get out of the presidential race.
Centrists claim Tulsi is planning third-party bid:
Gabbard’s move fueled speculation that she may run as a third-party candidate in 2020 after 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed last week that Tulsi was being “groomed” to run as a third-party candidate and said she would play the same spoiler role as Jill Stein, whom Clinton labeled a “Russian asset.”
The speculation grew after Gabbard appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Thursday to slam the House impeachment inquiry.
“I don't know what's going on in those closed doors,” Gabbard told Hannity. “We, as members of Congress, do not have access to the information that's being shared. I think the American people deserve to know exactly what the facts are — what the evidence is being presented as this inquiry goes on.”
“I've long expressed my concern about going through impeachment proceedings in a very, very partisan way," she said, "because it will only further tear apart an already divided country."
CNN commentator Keith Boykin, who was an aide in the Bill Clinton White House, wondered what Gabbard was up to.
“Tulsi Gabbard is not running for re-election. And she’s clearly not trying to win the Democratic nomination for president by going on Fox News every night to attack Democrats,” he tweeted. “So what, exactly, is she running for?”
Gabbard ruled out third-party bid:
Gabbard told CNN in August that she would not run as a third-party candidate.
“I've ruled that out,” she said. “I’m going to continue to focus on moving our campaign forward, continuing this grassroots campaign, continuing to deliver our message to the American people.”