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Tulsi Gabbard ends campaign for Democratic nomination

Christopher Wilson
·Senior Writer
·3 min read
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii announced on Thursday she was dropping her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In a video posted on her website, Gabbard said she had concluded that she could best serve the country during the current emergency in her capacity as a member of Congress, and in the Hawaii National Guard if her unit is activated.

She said she would offer her “full support” to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considered the all-but-certain nominee. “I’m confident that he will lead our country, guided by the spirit of aloha, respect and compassion, and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart.”

An Iraq War veteran and four-term representative, Gabbard officially launched her campaign in February 2019, emphasizing a non-interventionist foreign policy. A combat veteran and a member of the Hawaii National Guard, she used the slogan “A soldier’s heart.” Gabbard failed to approach double-digit support in any of the first four primary states but did finish second in the American Samoa caucuses that took place on Super Tuesday, earning two delegates.

Despite her participation in four of the first five debates, Gabbard never gained traction in polling. If there was a standout debate moment, it was her back-and-forth with Sen. Kamala Harris in July 2019, when Gabbard criticized the former prosecutor’s record on marijuana and the death penalty. Harris hit back by saying Gabbard was too close to Syrian leader Bashar Assad, whom Gabbard visited in 2017. In August of last year, Gabbard called Assad “a brutal dictator.”

The congresswoman garnered headlines and a fundraising boost in October when former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said Russia might support Gabbard in a third-party presidential bid. Gabbard, who said she had no intention of running a third-party campaign, filed a defamation lawsuit against Clinton for attacking her “political and personal reputation.”

“Our Democratic Party is unfortunately not the party that is of, by and for the people,” Gabbard said at the November Democratic debate, when asked about her criticism of Clinton. “It is a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington represented by Hillary Clinton and others’ foreign policy, by the military-industrial complex and other greedy corporate interests.”

Gabbard announced in October that she would not seek reelection to the House.

Gabbard’s standing among Democrats was hurt by negative coverage of her defenses of Assad and anti-LGBT comments she had made in the past, for which she later apologized. A February poll from the Economist and YouGov found that 43 percent of respondents would have been disappointed if Gabbard were to win the nomination. It was the second-worst result of any candidate, behind only former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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