Top Hawaii Democrat Calls On Tulsi Gabbard To Resign

Tulsi Gabbard is under fire back home for her vote on impeachment and for missing votes on the House floor.

Current Congresswoman and Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is facing calls to resign after her vote on last week’s impeachment vote and reports on the number of votes she’s missed on the House floor:

A former Democratic governor of Hawaii on Monday called on presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard to immediately resign from her seat in Congress so the state can hold a special election to replace her.

Neil Abercrombie, who led the state from 2010 to 2014, personally phoned Gabbard, who isn’t seeking reelection, before he went public with his call for her resignation at a news conference in Hawaii. His biggest complaint is that as she runs for president, she’s been largely absent from Congress.

“I’ve left a detailed message for her as to what I was thinking, what I was doing and what I hoped she would do,” Abercrombie told POLITICO in a phone interview following his announcement. “I’m sure she pays attention to her voicemail.”

Abercrombie, a former longtime House member, said his decision comes from his experience as an ex-special election candidate and a gubernatorial candidate who himself resigned from Congress.

“Trying to do my job in Washington and run for office, another office, in Hawaii was just too difficult. I couldn’t do it,” he recalled. “I had hoped maybe I could do it, and it became obvious that I couldn’t. So I resigned my seat.”

Abercrombie serves as co-chair of state Sen. Kai Kahele’s congressional campaign to succeed Gabbard. But the former governor stressed that he concluded that Gabbard should resign on his own.

“He didn’t ask me to do it. I didn’t ask him whether he thought it was OK for me to do it,” Abercrombie said of Kahele. “Whether it’s good for him or not good for him, I don’t know. I think what’s good for the people of the 2nd District should be the primary question, and I’m sure he agrees with that.”

Abercrombie acknowledged, however, that he gave Kahele a heads-up and said he would support him if Gabbard were to resign and Kahele were to run in the special election.

“We have a new mail-in ballot system now in Hawaii so I think we can hold a special election pretty conveniently and at reasonable cost,” Abercrombie said. “The cost by not having representation … severely outweighs any logistical or mechanical problems associated with running a special election.”

Gabbard’s congressional office indicated she would continue to serve in Congress, crediting her for securing “major legislative wins for Hawai’I” this session, such as improving reporting on Red Hill aquifer protection and helping veterans impacted by toxic burn pits.

Given that he is supporting the leading candidate to succeed Gabbard in the House of Representatives, it’s not surprising that Abercrombie would make a statement like this. At the same time, though, it comes at the same time that Gabbard is facing increasing criticism for what can only be described as strange behavior for a Democratic candidate for office. She was, for example, the last candidate for the Democratic nomination to come out in favor of the impeachment of the President. In the end, though, when it came time to vote, Gabbard ended up taking the coward’s way out in calling for the President’s censure rather than his impeachment and voting “Present” on both Articles of impeachment, something which has caused no small controversy back home in Hawaii, one of the bluest states in the country. On top of that, it was reported over the weekend that Gabbard had missed nearly 89% of the votes on the House floor taken in the past three months.

Gabbard has consistently polled toward the bottom of the Democratic field, with her best performance in polling coming in New Hampshire where she is currently sitting in 5th place at 5.7% behind Buttigieg, Sanders, Biden, and Warren, but ahead of other candidates such as Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Amy Klobuchar. In the national polls and in other early states, though, she is polling 2.0% and lower and other early states. Additionally, she did not qualify for last week’s debate and is unlikely to qualify for any future debates.

Quite honestly, it’s hard to figure out what game Gabbard is playing here. Some have theorized that she was positioning herself to be the next Jill Stein and run for the Green Party candidacy for President. If that’s the case she’s going about it in rather odd ways by taking on positions that aren’t going to endear her to voters from that party, especially when it comes to impeachment. Maybe she has no plans for a political future. Or maybe she’s just a gadfly. Whatever it is, it is quite odd.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Congress, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. gVOR08 says:

    Replacing Jill Stein on the Green Party ticket would be a step up? The baseless speculation that Trump might dump Pence for Gabbard as veep makes more sense. Occam’s Razor would argue she’s just a flake. Or going for a talking head slot at FOX, which is consistent with flake.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:


    There’s a perverse logic for Tiny to dump Pence and add Gabbard to the ticket.

    Trump being Trump, will pursue actions that are impeachable after he is acquitted and will be worse when re-elected. Now imagine early 2023 the House once again impeaches Tiny. Senate repugs are finally done with Tiny and while they aren’t high on Pence, they at least view him as a good steward for their policies, so they vote to convict. Pence takes over and it is possible that Repugs could control the presidency for the following 6 to 10 years.

    Would they convict him if Gabbard were to become president?

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: In that context it’s worth noting that Pence is even more a wholy owned subsidiary of Koch than even ex-guv Scott Walker.

  4. Anonne says:

    She’s been asked to run Green for a long time and has consistently said no, long before the smear campaign began. She isn’t running third party.

    That said, her base is largely made up of independent voters and so far it seems a lot of them are okay with it. They were never comfortable with impeachment anyway.

  5. de stijl says:


    Like you said.

    Jill Stein 2.0

    Perhaps doesn’t realize she is the pawn. Which is frankly sad.