Gabbard cited her presidential bid in her decision not to seek another term.
“Throughout my life, the thought of a ‘political career’ never crossed my mind. I’ve always done my best to serve where I felt I could make the most impact,” Gabbard said in a video. “It’s this principle of service above self that has motivated the decisions I’ve made throughout my life.”
I'm so grateful to the people of Hawaiʻi for allowing me to serve you in Congress for the last 7 years. 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... https://t.co/cNcjSNSoZl pic.twitter.com/h3wM6AZLMs— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 25, 2019
Gabbard, 38, served in Iraq with the Hawaii Army National Guard and was the youngest person to win a seat in the Hawaii legislature. In 2013, she became the first Hindu woman in Congress.
She has staked out an idiosyncratic position in the Democratic Party, criticizing military intervention overseas and embracing left-leaning domestic policy.
Last week, Hillary Clinton suggested that Russia might promote Gabbard as a third-party candidate to sow chaos in the 2020 presidential election. Gabbard has denied considering a third-party bid, and multiple Democratic presidential contenders defended her from Clinton’s claims.
Hours before announcing that she would not seek another term in Congress, Gabbard appeared on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show Thursday night to criticize Democrats for holding impeachment hearings in private.
“That inquiry needs to be done in a very narrowly focused way and it must be done transparently. I don’t know what’s going on in those closed doors,” she said. “I think that the American people deserve to know exactly what the facts are, what the evidence is that’s being presented as this inquiry goes on.”
In Hawaii, her primary challenger has steadily hammered her over the time she’s spent campaigning for president.
“Appearing on national television the night before is not an excuse to miss work,” Kahele told the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Oct. 16 after Gabbard missed a vote on a House resolution condemning Trump for pulling American troops from northern Syria. “The people of Hawaii deserve a representative who is committed full-time to this job.”
On Friday morning, Kahele praised Gabbard’s decision to drop out of the race.
I wholly respect and appreciate Congresswoman Gabbard’s decision not to pursue re-election for her Congressional seat as she pursues the Presidency. I wish her and her family the best going forward.— Kai Kahele (@kaikahele) October 25, 2019
I remain fully committed to my campaign to becomes Hawaii’s next Congressman.