Gabbard Abruptly Decides To Drop House Reelection Bid, Arousing Suspicion

at Fox News Channel Studios on September 24, 2019 in New York City.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) announced early Friday morning that she would not seek reelection for her House seat, arousing immediate suspicion that she intends to launch a third-party presidential bid after all.

Gabbard is an extreme long shot for the White House, already failing to make one of the still-sprawling debate stages. She’s never broken through in the polls and has cobbled together a strange coalition of supporters that includes unsavory elements like former KKK leader David Duke.

Recently, Gabbard responded bombastically to Hillary Clinton’s intimation that she’s a Russian asset being groomed to run as a spoiler, unloading video after video and calling Clinton “queen of the warmongers.”

She also went on Fox News’ “Hannity” Thursday night where she bizarrely defended Republicans’ specious complaints about the impeachment inquiry taking place behind closed doors. In reality, there are many Republicans on all the committees overseeing the inquiry, all of whom are allowed into every hearing.

Suspicion that Gabbard may use some of her rightwing appeal to launch an independent bid has long been rampant, though the candidate denied any intention of doing so back in September.

She was facing a serious challenger for her House seat, and her recent proclamation that she’d carry her presidential candidacy all the way to the convention — requisite delegates be damned — did make her chances of holding onto the House seat look more shaky.

But still, this is an incredibly odd move. Most presidential candidates hedge their bets for as long as possible, keeping the option of their old seat open as a contingency plan.

Gabbard is not going to be a representative from Hawaii. And she’s almost as certainly not going to be the Democratic candidate. Thus, despite her protestation, this decision begs the question — what is she trying to be?

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: