Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced Friday morning that she will not seek reelection to her Hawaii congressional seat in 2020, saying she is “fully committed” to her presidential bid.
“I’m so grateful to the people of Hawai’i for allowing me to serve you in Congress for the last 7 years,” Gabbard said in several tweets. “I’m fully committed to my offer to serve you, the people of Hawaii & America, as your President & Commander-in-Chief. So I will not be seeking reelection to Congress in 2020.”
“Throughout my life, I’ve always made my decisions based on where I felt I could do the most good,” the four-term congresswoman for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district said in a lengthy video message documenting her political career as well and service in Hawaii’s National Guard.
Gabbard said her priorities as president will be to end the new nuclear arms race as well as the U.S. foreign policy of “being the world’s police, toppling dictators and governments we don’t like,” redirecting resources back to Americans at home.
She faced a tough primary challenge from state senator Kai Kahele, who has criticized Gabbard for neglecting her district as she pursued her presidential bid.
“This dedication, while worthy of admiration, meant that her congressional district was often left without a voice in Washington, D.C.,” Kahele said in a statement responding to Gabbard’s announcement Friday.
Gabbard is currently lagging in tenth place nationally at 1.3 percent support in the crowded Democratic primary field, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. She has not yet qualified for the Democratic debate later this month.