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Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Avoids Public Debate/Forum in Primary Election Race

Wayne Yoshioka

Hawai’i’s Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has made it through two election cycles without facing any of her challengers in a public debate or forum.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (left) at the 2016 Democratic Unity Breakfast following Primary Election night

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard won her congressional district seat 6 years ago.  Since then, she has not appeared in a debate or forum with any of her opponents, Democrat or Republican, despite her support of the electoral process in 2014.

“Our democratic process creates that open platform for people of all ages, of all walks of life, all backgrounds, to step up and say, ‘I would like to be of service.’  And to give that choice to the people.”


Credit from Dan Boylan
Political analyst and newspaper columnist Dan Boylan

Political analyst and newspaper columnist, Dan Boylan, says Gabbard will win the Primary and General Elections but she will do so at a price.


“Tulsi Gabbard, I think will be re-elected to Congress.  But she hurt herself, I think, by absenting herself from any possibility of debate with her opposition who holds the endorsement of the Hawai’i State Teacher’s Association.  That’s a no joke union.”


Christine Gralow is an independent journalist with a nonprofit news website, meanwhileinHawaii.org.  Gralow published a detailed 3-part series on the Science of Identity Foundation which she says appears to be connected to the Gabbard Family.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Independent journalist Christine Gralow has a news website, meanwhileinhawaii.org

“My questions really go beyond Science of Identity at this point.  I don’t understand the pro-Putin Tweets, the anti-Obama Tweets, the assertion that she would denounce Assad if there were evidence that he was behind the Chlorine attack.  I mean, I’ve got a whole list of questions for Tulsi Gabbard that she hasn’t answered.  And, what ‘m finding out, too, talking to other journalists, is, I’m not the only one.”


The Gabbard for Congress campaign was invited by HPR to comment on Gralow’s story but a spokesperson sent an email that stated, “Tulsi Gabbard is not going to participate in anything involving Gralow who has a history of bigotry and fabrications and we aren’t going to help amplify her Hindu-phobia.”  End quote.  Gralow, however, stands by her series.


“I published the 3rd part of my series in late December 2017.  Nobody’s contested any facts.  And I’ve put it out that if there are any inaccuracies in my reporting on the Science of Identity Foundation and Tulsi Gabbard, I am more than happy to make a correction.  But, I would need somebody to come forward and make a claim.  Nobody’s done that so far.”


Meanwhile, on the topic of Congressional debates and forums, political analyst, Boylan, says it’s not unusual for Democratic incumbents to avoid public appearances with their opponents for fear of making a mistake.


“There is a long tradition of not debating if you are in a really strong position.  And, when you look at the current strength of the Republican Party and its inability to field candidates in race after race after race, your arrogance can truly grow (laugh) waste of time.”


And, Gabbard is not really accountable to Gralow or anyone other than her constituency.


“Ever since the people of the Second Congressional District entrusted me with their votes and their confidence in 2012, I’ve been actively working hard for them.”


For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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