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Tulsi Gabbard Is Ending Her Very Different 2020 Presidential Campaign

The Hawaii lawmaker staked her campaign on New Hampshire and South Carolina, and didn't go far in either.

Posted on March 19, 2020, at 10:56 a.m. ET

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Tulsi Gabbard is ending her presidential campaign, after a year campaigning against the Democratic Party establishment whose nomination she had hoped to secure.

In a video, she also made explicit that she would not be splintering from the party, and would instead back leading candidate Joe Biden.

"After Tuesday's election, it is clear that Democratic primary voters have chosen Vice President Joe Biden to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election. I know Vice President Biden and his wife, and I'm grateful to have called his son Beau a friend, who also served in the National Guard. 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," she 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. So today I'm suspending my presidential campaign and offering my full support to Vice President Joe Biden in his quest to bring our country together."

Important announcement. From Oahu, Hawaiʻi. #StandWithTulsi

Gabbard, a member of Congress representing Hawaii, did not run a typical campaign. She has not qualified for a Democratic debate since November, and she barely had any campaign infrastructure in Iowa, the first voting state. She instead banked on New Hampshire, a libertarian-minded state, as a launching pad for her anti-interventionist ideology. She came in a distant seventh place in the state but continued her campaign into Nevada (where she didn't really register) and South Carolina.

She has consistently performed far behind the top candidates in all primaries and has had limited public campaign events since early February. She won two total delegates after a strong finish in American Samoa, trailing Democrats like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg who dropped out of the race before Super Tuesday.

She has long had supporters on the far left of her party — especially after she left a top spot with the Democratic National Committee in 2016 to support Bernie Sanders' campaign — as well as among independents who had aligned with Ron Paul in earlier years.

But her race may be most remembered for some of the attacks she landed on her opponents, from early debate moments with Sen. Kamala Harris on her prosecutorial record to her decision to sue Hillary Clinton. Along the way, she frustrated progressives and other Democrats by being the only member of Congress to vote "present" for President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Gabbard has long insisted she would not run third-party, despite constant questions for years about her intentions. “I am not running as a third-party candidate," she told BuzzFeed News several times in New Hampshire.

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