Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii on Thursday announced that she was suspending her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and endorsing the front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Gabbard were the only other candidates remaining in the once-crowded field. She picked up two delegates in American Samoa, where she was born, but hasn’t qualified for a debate since last year.
Gabbard, the first Hindu member of Congress and the first Samoan American voting member of Congress, was the only remaining female and person of color in the race. There were previously two other Asian Pacific American candidates, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who have also endorsed Biden.
In an email and a video posted to Twitter, Gabbard said that “it’s clear that Democratic primry voters have chosen” Biden to take on President Trump in November.
An Iraq War veteran and a member of the Hawaii National Guard, Gabbard said, “I know Vice President Biden and his wife and am grateful to have called his son Beau, who also served in the National Guard, a friend. Although I may not agree with the vice president on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people.
“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.”
In the meantime, she said, “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.”
Elected to Congress in 2012 and now in her fourth term, Gabbard resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 to endorse Sanders over Hillary Clinton.
Clinton recently suggested that Gabbard was a “favorite of the Russians.” Several of her fellow Democratic presidential candidates came to her defense, as did Trump. Gabbard, who called Clinton the “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long,” filed a defamation lawsuit against the former secretary of state in January.
Gabbard was controversial among Democrats for previously opposing LGBTQ rights, meeting with Trump during his transition, meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017, and voting “present” instead of supporting Trump’s impeachment in December.
In October, Gabbard announced that she would not seek re-election to her congressional seat.