Hawaii’s former governor says running for president is getting in the way of Tulsi Gabbard representing the state in Congress. Neil Abercrombie called on her to resign from the House of Representatives.
Abercrombie, a Democrat who served until 2014, said in a press conference on Monday that it was “quite clear” Gabbard is “unable” to serve the people of Hawaii and run for the Democratic nomination at the same time.
“She’s missed virtually all of the votes so far,” said Abercrombie, including one last week on a $1.4 trillion spending package that funds federal agencies through September 2020. “Whatever her future holds in terms of a presidential campaign, I think in order for the people of Hawaii to be properly represented, she should resign the seat and allow a special election to take place.”
Gabbard missed 125 of the 146 votes taken in the House from October through December, according to GovTrack. She was the only member to vote “present” on the articles of impeachment against President Trump last week. She said she “could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.”
Gabbard’s spokesman, T. Ilihia Gionson, pushed back on the idea that she can’t do both.
“Just this session, she has secured major legislative wins for Hawaiʻi including better reporting on Red Hill aquifer protection, consultation between the military and Native Hawaiians, helping our veterans affected by toxic burn pits, opportunities for defense contracting for Native Hawaiian companies, and more,” he said in a statement. “Her pursuit of the highest office in the land has not compromised her and her team’s commitment to serving the people of Hawaiʻi in her fourth term in Congress.”
Gabbard, who has represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013, announced in October that she wouldn’t seek reelection so she can focus on her presidential campaign. The Hawaii Democrat was facing a primary challenge from State Senator Kai Kahele, who Abercrombie endorsed.
Abercrombie himself served in Congress but resigned in early 2010 to focus on his run for governor.