Tulsi Gabbard Won’t Run For Re-Election, Will Focus On Doomed White House Run

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is basically a non-entity in the race for the Democratic nomination, will not be running for re-election.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has languished near the bottom of the race for the Democratic nomination, has announced that she will not run for re-election to the House of Representatives from Hawaii, increasing speculation that she may be eyeing a third-party run for the White House notwithstanding her denials to the contrary:

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said Thursday that she will not run for re-election for her U.S. representative seat, saying she wants to focus on trying to secure her party’s nomination to challenge President Donald Trump.

Gabbard, who represents Hawaii, made the announcement in a video and email to supporters.

“I believe that I can best serve the people of Hawaii and our country as your president and commander-in-chief,” Gabbard said in the video.

She also expressed gratitude to the people of Hawaii for her nearly seven years in Congress.

In January, Hawaii state Sen. Kai Kahele, a Democrat, said he would run for Gabbard’s seat, NBC affiliate KHNL of Honolulu reported.

An Iowa Democratic caucus poll out this week put Gabbard at 3 percent, with former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the top three spots.

She is in a crowded field of Democrats seeking the nomination to run for president. Another candidate, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, ended his long-shot presidential campaign Thursday.

This news comes several days after Gabbard was in the headlines after former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned that Gabbard was being “groomed” to become a third-party candidate that could have a negative impact on whoever the Democratic nominee is much like Jill Stein of the Green Party arguably in 2016. Initially, it was reported that Clinton had said that Gabbard was being groomed by Russians to run as a third-party candidate, which led to the backlash from Gabbard. As noted in the correction to the New York Times report linked above as well as subsequent reporting, though, it is clear that Clinton actually said that Gabbard is being “groomed” by Republicans. While it might seem like a far-fetched allegation, there is some sense to it. For one thing, Gabbard has long been a critic of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party in general and Clinton herself in particular. Additionally, conservative media outlets have been promoting Gabbard in a way that seems odd for a Republican-leaning news network, but it makes sense if your goal is to promote Gabbard as a potential spoiler for whoever wins the Democratic nomination. The latest example of that came just last night, with Gabbard’s appearance on Sean Hannity’s show:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, echoed the frustrations of many Republicans over a perceived lack of transparency in the handling of the impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats.

Appearing on “Hannity” Thursday, the presidential candidate said she originally supported the inquiry, but she stressed the need for transparency.

“I don’t know what’s going on in those closed doors,” Gabbard said. “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.”

She also expressed concerns that a hyper-partisan impeachment inquiry would “tear apart” the country. “I’ve long expressed my concern about going through impeachment proceedings in a very, very partisan way because it will only further tear apart an already divided country.”

Gabbard also sounded off again about former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has suggested that Republicans were grooming Gabbard to run a third-party candidacy. After Clinton’s comments, Gabbard called Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”

On Hannity, Gabbard said that Clinton has sent a warning out to all veterans and anyone who stood up to her “warmongering policies.”

“She is not only calling me a traitor, she is not only trying to smear my character, she’s sending a warning out to every veteran, every single American, anyone who stands up the warmongering foreign policies that really are her legacy, that have been so destructive and costly to my brothers and sisters in uniform, because the American people trillions of dollars, and because of so much damage in the war,” Gabbard said of Clinton.

Based on behavior like this, it’s entirely legitimate to wonder exactly what it is that Gabbard has on her mind. Regardless of her tweets, it’s obvious that she is not going to be the Democratic nominee. She’s also not going to be considered by any of the potential nominees — which at this point would be Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, or Harris — as a running mate, or for a Cabinet position for that matter. She also has a long history of being a thorn in the side of the Democratic National Committee and the center-left wing of the party. Given that, her claim that she has no intention of all running third-party should be taken with a grain of salt at least. At some point, it is going to dawn on her that continuing her run for the Democratic nomination is a waste of time. That’s when we’ll see whether she fades into the background or mounts a third-party run whose only plausible motivation can be to knee-cap the eventual Democratic nominee.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Hillary Clinton, 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

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    Who gives a shit.

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  2. She could be the next Jill Stein.

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  3. Mikey says:

    Appearing on “Hannity” Thursday

    Hillary was right about her. Hillary was right about many things.

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  4. CSK says:

    She has David Duke behind her. What could possibly go wrong?

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  5. Scott says:

    “I don’t know what’s going on in those closed doors,” Gabbard said. “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.”

    The followup question should be: Who on the committees have you talked to on what is being briefed? How hard did you try to get informed?

    My own Rep was on the committees and was also complaining. I wanted to ask him how many of his fellow congressmen asked him for a summary? And how could he find the time to inform his Freedom Caucus colleagues when he had three media events on one day?

    Finally, to echo many who unfortunately get in the way of unwanted sonic waves: who cares about Tulsi Gabbard?

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  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    Clinton maybe right that the Russians view Gabbard as a potential useful idiot in the manner of Stein. But Clinton expressed it in her usual tone deaf, paranoid way and came across as a whining self pitying loser.

    Everyone is to blame for her loss, but her, and many conspired against her. She doesn’t accept that she’s a lousy campaigner, who had an enormous trust deficit with voters. Plus she and her senior staff made lousy political decisions during the campaign. Why didn’t you spend time and money in the states that you should win, that your internal polling shows to be closer than expected?

    It would be best for the Dems if Clinton would just keep quiet as when she speaks she only serves as a distraction for Tiny.

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  7. Robert C says:

    Her comment that Hillary Clinton is a warmonger
    and represents the rot of the Democratic Party was pretty accurate. If Democrats and the DNC were smart, they’d tell Hilliary to go away.

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  8. Kathy says:

    “My! What big mouth you have!”

    “The better to eat you with, my dear.”

  9. Jax says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: That’s a pretty perfect example of why you shouldn’t listen to talk radio. It kills brain cells.

    Rudy Giuliani is not presently a political candidate for office. The FEC and the Attorney General are not foreign governments. These things are nothing like what Trump did in Ukraine.

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  10. Han says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    If a current candidate for President, for the Democratic Party,
    complains to the Federal Election Commission and to the
    United States Attorney General, about an associate of
    President Donald Trump, then is that request for an
    investigation the same type of
    “quid pro quo” that the Democrats are accusing Republican
    President Donald Trump of requesting from the
    Ukranian government by asking them to investigate
    a company involved with the son of
    Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden?

    Short answer? No. Three points. The FEC and USAG are domestic, not foreign. Investigating these types of things is literally their job. And Klobuchar is not attempting to withhold their funding if they don’t comply.

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  11. Han says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    came across as a whining self pitying loser.

    Funny. Because whenever I hear someone complaining about Clinton daring to exist, that’s exactly how they come across to me.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That’s when we’ll see whether she fades into the background or mounts a third-party run whose only plausible motivation can be to knee-cap the eventual Democratic nominee.

    Seeing as she is literally a democrat in name only and 90-95% of her policy positions align more closely with the GOP, she might actually pull more votes from trump.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Han: I have noticed that more people say Hillary just go away when she is right about something.

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  14. Modulo Myself says:

    Her 3rd party run will be supported entirely by sad, horny men all of whom have been catfished.

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  15. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: and often it consists of the shitty, “well, she’s technically right, but I don’t like the way she said it.”

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  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    I read elsewhere that Gabbard just spent the night with Wall Street type backers at Anthony Scaramucci’s restaurant.

    To me, she seems like she might be the perfect ploy for a Wall Street guy who is terrified of Elizabeth Warren. For someone like that, Trump might be preferable, and with impeachment grinding away, Pence is certainly preferable.

    So, they can live with Biden. Biden is their pal. Biden is Senator Mastercard. They will drop Tulsi like a hot potato if he gets the nod, but I expect them to tout her to the heavens if Warren wins this. Or Sanders, probably, too.

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  17. Jay L Gischer says:

    I’m no longer interested in discussing Hillary’s defects/strengths. I will simply note that, if she hadn’t brought this up, I wouldn’t have been paying attention to Gabbard, like, at all. I think that’s true of a lot of people.

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  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: And that’s a problem that only the Democrats can address. There aren’t any schwing voters to attract by being “more moderate,” there are only concern trolls for “the permanent Republican majority.”

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  19. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Clinton maybe right that the Russians view Gabbard as a potential useful idiot in the manner of Stein. But Clinton expressed it in her usual tone deaf, paranoid way and came across as a whining self pitying loser.

    Clinton actually said “Republicans” not “Russians” and The NY Times got it wrong. Really.

    Understandable, I guess, since the Russians and the Republicans both start with the letter R and are led by Putin.

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  20. gVOR08 says:

    Gabbard’s appearance on Sean Hannity’s show

    seems to say all that needs be said.

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  21. al Ameda says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    Was Democratic Party Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar asking for a “contribution” from the FEC and Bill Barr?

    Russia, if you’re listening …..

  22. Guarneri says:

    C’mon, guys. I’m the only Russian plant, not Tulsi. Well, Jill Stein. And Trump. Probably, Barr. And Durham. Lord, Melania? She has Russian stooge written all over her.

    Funny thing, though. None of us hired Fusion GPS to work with a washed up British agent to work with dirt digging Russians, Ukranians…….except……………..well, never mind.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: Yeah. Your gibberish is long past never mind stage.

  24. Jax says:

    @Guarneri: Actually, pretty sure the Heritage Foundation hired them first to dig up dirt. Interesting how you guys always gloss over your favorite conservative think tank being the initiators on the Fusion GPS contract.

  25. Pat says:

    With so many candidates, one would think the DNC could come up with a few decoys for Trump & supporters to chase for a year, candidates or not. Let Trump chase his own tail for awhile. It’s what everyone else has done since Trump was elected, and Americans are no better for it. Impeach him, and get it over with. It’s kinder, and more just!