Tulsi Gabbard Drops Out of Democratic Presidential Race

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Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard ended her run for the presidency on Thursday, after placing at or near the bottom in all of the early voting states.

She endorsed Joe Biden, saying he was guided “by the spirit of aloha, respect and compassion.”

Gabbard came in last among the remaining candidates in almost every primary. She had her best score, 3.3%, in New Hampshire after devoting time and money there. She collected only two delegates to the nominating convention, from American Samoa.

“After Tuesday’s election, it is clear that Democratic primary voters have chosen Vice President Joe Biden to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election,” she said in a video message posted on Twitter, noting that she was “grateful to have called his son, Beau, a friend.” Gabbard is a major in the Hawaii National Guard member, and Beau Biden served in the Delaward National Guard before he died of cancer in 2015.

That leaves Biden and Bernie Sanders as the only Democratic candidates left competing for the nomination.

Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran who has been in Congress since 2013, focused her campaign on keeping the U.S. away from military intervention. She said her experience in the war had made her wary of U.S. military operations abroad.

But she consistently polled in the single digits, as foreign policy typically doesn’t energize voters in presidential elections. Her “present” vote on Trump’s impeachment, the only such abstention, didn’t help. After the vote, a Morning Consult poll found that 30% of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of her, making her the least popular Democratic candidate.

Gabbard, 38, drew attention in the July Democratic debate when she criticized Kamala Harris for her record as a prosecutor in California. They clashed again in the November forum after Harris blasted her for meeting with Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon and her past statements supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Gabbard responded that Harris was “continuing to traffic in lies and slander and innuendo” because she supports the “Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy of regime-change wars.”

Gabbard failed to qualify for any of the Democratic debates after November 2019.

In January, Gabbard sued Hillary Clinton, alleging the former Democratic presidential nominee suggested in a podcast that she was a “Russian asset.”

Gabbard’s campaign had a rocky start. Gabbard’s campaign manager Rania Batrice quit days before her official announcement, and the candidate was criticized for saying that Assad, with whom she met in 2017, isn’t a war criminal. Gabbard also came under fire from LGBTQ advocates for past stances that she apologized for.

She rose to national prominence when she spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and gained a following among Sanders supporters when she resigned in 2016 from her position as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and endorsed Sanders.

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