By MEG KINNARD
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard suspended her presidential campaign on March 19, 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.
In an email and a video posted to Twitter, Gabbard offered her full support to former Vice President Joe Biden, saying “it’s clear that Democratic primary voters have chosen” him to take on President Donald Trump in November.
Noting their political differences, Gabbard said she respected Biden and had confidence in the motivations of his campaign effort.
“Although I may not agree with the vice president on every issue, I know that he has a good heart, and he’s motivated by his love for our country and the American people,” Gabbard said. “I’m confident that he will lead our country, guided by the spirit of aloha respect and compassion, and thus help heal the divisiveness that has been tearing our country apart.”
Gabbard was part of what once was a historically diverse Democratic field and the last of a half-dozen female candidates to depart the race. 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, Gabbard outlasted senators and governors who came into the large Democratic primary race with higher profiles.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues, Gabbard, a military veteran and a major in the Army National Guard, said she would focus on her continued service, including military experience, should it be needed.
“I feel that the best way I can be of service at this time is to continue to work for the health and well being 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,” said Gabbard, who served two tours of duty in the Middle East.