KAILUA-KONA — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District may be planning to test her political viability on a national stage.
Politico reported Friday that “a source with direct knowledge of her deliberations” said Gabbard was considering a run for the presidency on the Democratic ticket in 2020.
The Politico report went on to assert that Rania Batrice, who serves as an adviser to Gabbard and was deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid in 2016, is exploring options to staff Gabbard’s possible run. The source of that information was someone “approached about the positions,” according to the Politico report.
Several members of Gabbard’s staff did not respond to West Hawaii Today’s request for comment by press time Friday.
Politico reported Batrice denied that anyone was being hired for a campaign but stopped short of ruling out a push by Gabbard for the presidency in 2020 amid an ever-growing field of likely contenders.
Gabbard, 37, has served three terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and is heavily favored to win a fourth this November.
She is often described as a progressive politician and gained national attention as such when she resigned her position as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) then publicly endorsed Sanders for president over Hillary Clinton.
The DNC would later find itself mired in controversy as it was revealed the organization was working to undermine the Sanders campaign in favor of Clinton.
However, Gabbard’s political past is also speckled with positions considerably right of the progressive agenda. A veteran of the Iraq War, she is a self-proclaimed “hawk” on the war against terrorism and other national security issues.
Early in her career, Gabbard was also vocal in her opposition of marriage equality. She has since walked back those positions and put action behind her new words.
“I fully believe in marriage equality, and my consistent and unequivocal voting record on marriage equality and other LGBT issues speaks for itself,” Gabbard wrote in an email to West Hawaii Today in 2016. “Where I was on this issue more than a decade ago was wrong.”
The Congresswoman can lay claim to a couple impressive “firsts.” She remains the youngest politician in Hawaii history to be elected to the state Legislature, earning the nod from voters at the age of 21. She’s also the first Hindu to serve in Congress.
Gabbard’s claim to national fame began with her departure from the ranks of the DNC and her endorsement of Sanders, but hasn’t been absent controversy since.
The Congresswoman raised eyebrows on the left side of the aisle after meeting with President Trump during the 2016 presidential transition. She also drew heat last year after a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, questioning his role in gruesome chemical attacks carried out during that country’s civil war.