Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s New Hampshire trip marks possible presidential run
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is scheduled to speak Sunday to progressive Democrats in New Hampshire as part of a series of discussions with prospective Democratic presidential candidates, a further indication that she is indeed looking at running for the Oval Office in 2020.
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Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is scheduled to speak Sunday to progressive Democrats in New Hampshire as part of a series of discussions with prospective Democratic presidential candidates, a further indication that she is indeed looking at running for the Oval Office in 2020. The “meet and greet” is being hosted by the Rockingham County Democrats.
New Hampshire holds the first presidential primary, making it, along with Iowa,
a crucial campaign state for those seeking a presidential bid. Gabbard visited Iowa last month where she spoke at a Johnston County Democratic Party barbecue.
Larry Drake, chairman
of the Rockingham County Democrats, said that the meetings marked the first wave of prospective candidates following this year’s midterm elections. He said that many candidates are likely still in the exploratory stage of deciding whether they will run.
“It’s an incredibly wide-open field right now, and
I think it is going to be that way for the foreseeable future,” said Drake, noting the long list of politicians
who are eyeing a run for president.
Gabbard’s office hasn’t
responded to questions from the Honolulu Star-
Advertiser in recent weeks seeking more information about the congresswoman’s political plans.
On Thursday, Erika Tsuji, a spokeswoman for Gabbard, would only say that the congresswoman would be visiting progressive leaders in New Hampshire and participating in a roundtable discussion about “the cost of war and the need to invest in peace.”
Gabbard, 37, is soon to
release an autobiography in the spring, something done in the past by presidential hopefuls. She has also hired high-powered media and campaign consultants. Most recently she paid $10,000 to Joe Trippi &Associates, a political strategy firm that has worked on high-profile campaigns, according to reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission. She also paid Batrice &Associates $9,000 in August. Rania Batrice, who has worked with Gabbard in the past,
is a well-known political
consultant who assisted with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
If Gabbard does make
a presidential run, she wouldn’t have to resign her House seat, according to Nedielyn Bueno, a spokeswoman for the Office of Elections. Bueno said Gabbard can run for re-election in the House for 2020 while also running for president.
Political analysts have commented that Gabbard’s bid would be a long shot and she would be in part hampered by being from a small state. But a run could also boost her national profile, bolster her attractiveness as a vice presidential candidate or possibly help her secure a Cabinet-level position.
It could also have implications for her support at home. Sanders is believed to be considering another presidential run, and a primary challenge from Gabbard could result in her losing
favor with Hawaii progressives. It could also inflame Gabbard’s critics who have accused her of grandstanding and not focusing on
issues in Hawaii.
“Often people who are running for president, they get a lot of hometown, home-state supporters. People are really pleased about it,” said Colin Moore, director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Hawaii. “I’m not sure people in Hawaii will be thrilled about Tulsi running for president, actually. … It will provide more evidence for people who have already been critical of her that she hasn’t served Hawaii well. She’s served Tulsi Gabbard well.”
But Moore said he didn’t think it would harm her
political prospects locally. “She is still so popular, I don’t think it is really going to harm her in a serious way,” he said.
John Hart, chairman of the communications department at Hawaii Pacific University, agreed.
“There has been a line in the party about, well, you know, she’s too national, she doesn’t pay enough attention to local issues,” said Hart. “But that line has been around for a while, and her positives are still up there.”