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War veterans group endorses Gabbard's run for Congress

By B.J. Reyes


The nonprofit arm of VoteVets.org, which seeks to elect Iraq and Af­ghani­stan war veterans to Congress, has committed $75,000 for ads in Hawaii supporting Tulsi Gabbard in her bid for the 2nd Congressional District.

The television ad by the VoteVets.org Action Fund portrays Gabbard as "fresh leadership" and touts her military background, which includes two tours of duty to the war in Iraq. The buy is for weekdays starting today and running through May 30.

"She's been a real advocate for veterans," Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org, said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Pittsburgh. "For the long term we're interested in producing leaders that are going to take care of our issues, and our members on the ground are very supportive of Tulsi."

The ads are classified as an independent expenditure, which are not coordinated with a campaign, but can focus on issues that benefit a candidate.

"I'm especially honored to have the support from veterans because they know me best," Gabbard, a captain in the Army National Guard, said in a statement. "They know that because of my experience in deploying twice to the Middle East, and working with Sen. (Daniel) Akaka on veterans issues in Washington, that I will fight for all veterans, fight for our troops, and will work hard to bring our troops home from Af­ghani­stan now, and instead focus on rebuilding Hawaii and our country."

Gabbard is in the Demo­cratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District representing rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. Others in the primary include former Hono­lulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chief Advocate Esther Kia­aina, Hilo attorney Bob Marx and Hono­lulu attorney Rafael Del Castillo. The Republican primary field includes small-business consultant Matthew DiGeronimo.

"Our opponents must run their campaigns as they see fit; we will run our campaign as we see fit," Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Hannemann's deputy campaign manager, said in a statement.

Hannemann leads in overall fundraising, with $789,000 raised for the election cycle and $631,00 in cash on hand as of March 31, according to Federal Elections Commission filings. Gabbard has raised $571,000 and has $465,000 on hand.

"The bottom line is we have a young, dynamic, fresh leader who served two terms in Iraq running against a career politician," Soltz said. "The $75,000 is just an initial down payment on what we think we need to do to really raise her name ID and ensure that this is a two-person race."

Gabbard, a former state representative who is in her first term on the Hono­lulu City Council, was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and to Kuwait in 2008.

Founded in 2006, VoteVets.org has raised more than $30 million to push veterans' issues and back congressional campaigns of Iraq and Af­ghani­stan war veterans.

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MalamaKaAina wrote:
on May 16,2012 | 01:53AM
owlright wrote:
I agree. It's time somebody else had a chance. I am impressed by Tulsi's optimism and enthusiasm. She has my vote.
on May 16,2012 | 02:05AM
yt808 wrote:
Someone who has actually been to war will be much more judicious in making military decisions. There are too many armchair politicians in Congress and Tulsi Gabbard has actually walked the walk.
on May 16,2012 | 02:53AM
Sue_Presu wrote:
Tulsi is for labeling GMO - Hannemann's campaign is being bankrolled by Monsanto. Vote for Tulsi!
on May 16,2012 | 12:33PM
Jsato wrote:
Tulsi Gabbard is proving to be a serious contender for this Congressional seat and very well might win. I'd say anyone who wants to avoid the good 'ole boy, same 'ole, same 'ole thing with Mufi should put their vote to Tulsi. Mufi's probably banking on the three other contenders splitting the vote. If the anti-Mufi vote swings behind Tulsi, he doesn't have a chance.
on May 16,2012 | 12:07PM
LanaAloha wrote:
Tulsi is a survivor and she's proven she's willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. She will fight for the people of Hawaii in Congress!
on May 16,2012 | 03:06AM
Ronin006 wrote:
A progressive veterans PAC means far left liberal veterans PAC. Where is the support for Charles Djou? Oh, wait. He is a conservative.
on May 16,2012 | 02:35AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
If that's the case, then maybe I'll give Tulsi Gabbard further consideration.
on May 16,2012 | 05:29AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
IRT Ronin006. I totally disagree. In fact, I think the opposite is true. These veterans are the ones who voluntarily but their okole on the line for their country, That''s NOT far left liberal. I hope Tulsi will come out and vow to support VETERANS OF ALL WARS. I'm a Vietnam vet who volunteered for active duty, assignment to Vietnam and fought to gain command of a rifle company. Every promise made to us was and is proposed to be broken. From free medical care for us and our dependents if we put in 20 years to paying taxes on gross income which includes our benefits and disabilities; and paying for medical insurance, including Medicare and Tricare For Life the current free supplemental insurance,, which will go as high as $2,000 a year, and paying for pharmaceuticals. With what this liberal administration proposes, anyone would be a fool to enlist or reenlist. These can all be verified in MOAA newsletter and other service publications. If Tulsi will come out and openly support our cause, she will gain the support of military retirees.
on May 16,2012 | 07:54AM
false wrote:
That wasn't Ronin006's point. He is asking why Charles Djou, also a veteran but a Republican, wasn't mentioned. Good question.
on May 16,2012 | 09:50AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Thanks, false. That was my point. My other point is that these are not just veterans of the wars in Iraq and Af­ghani­stan; they are "progressive" veterans, which means their general political philosophy is to advocate for social, political, and economic reform or changes usually in opposition to conservative philosophy. Progressives usually are far left.
on May 16,2012 | 01:01PM
Ronin006 wrote:
CharkieGrunt, you missed a key word in the story and in my comment, that being "progressive." Check the political definition of progressive and you will find it is far left liberalism.
on May 16,2012 | 02:27PM
McCully wrote:
Mufi with his BIG mouth and ideas will bankrupt the state with his rail dream. Can you imagine what he will do to the state as a congress rep? I don't want to think about it and so does everybody else. Go Tulsi!!!!!!!
on May 16,2012 | 07:29AM
hele wrote:
"Fresh leadership?" I'd say that's a bit of a stretch.
on May 16,2012 | 08:35AM
juke wrote:
another player.vietnam vet
on May 16,2012 | 04:25PM
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