Congressional race likely to get crowded

Sen. Kai Kahele announces his bid for Congress Jan. 21 at Mo’oheau Bandstand in Hilo. (Hawaii Tribune-Herald/File photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, participates in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University on Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

HILO — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s announcement late Thursday that she won’t seek reelection to Congress so she can focus on her presidential bid turns what early challenger Kai Kahele saw as a likely mano-a-mano contest into a political free-for-all.