Gabbard Ends Long-Shot 2020 Bid, Gives Support to Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Kansas City, Missouri. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is suspending her presidential campaign, ending a long-shot effort that saw her feuding with Hillary Clinton and raising fears among Democrats that she would mount a third-party 2020 bid.

She’s offering her full support to former Vice President Joe Biden. She made the announcement by email on Thursday.

“I feel that the best way I can be of service at this time is to continue to work for the health and wellbeing of the people of Hawaii and our country in Congress, and to stand ready to serve in uniform should the Hawaii National Guard be activated,” she said.

During her candidacy, Gabbard appeared often on Fox News Channel and angered fellow Democrats by voting “present” on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. In October, she announced she wouldn’t be seeking reelection to her congressional seat, instead focusing on her presidential bid.

Gabbard attracted a sizable following in New Hampshire, where she frequently campaigned ahead of the state’s February primary. Some past supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the state warmed to her campaign over time, and she espoused a similar outsider approach to Sanders’ 2016 run, which Gabbard supported.

She was also part of what once was a historically diverse Democratic field. The 38-year-old American Samoan’s campaign website described her as “the first Hindu to run for president and first practicing Hindu in Congress.” And as one of the youngest candidates in the field and a military veteran, Gabbard outlasted senators and governors who came into the large Democratic primary race with higher profiles.

Yet Gabbard’s 2020 campaign was also quick to attract questions from voters. The Hawaii congresswoman has faced backlash for her 2017 meeting in Syria with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose government has been accused of chemical weapons attacks against its own citizens.

And with a primary challenge looming, she announced in October she would not run for re-election to her Hawaii congressional seat.