Former Hawaii Gov. and Congressman Neil Abercrombie called Monday for U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s resignation.
He said he believes her presidential campaign has kept her from properly representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. He listed her absence during decisions on key legislation, such as the federal budget, and her “present” vote on impeachment as examples.
“It became clear to me that she was missing votes, lots and lots of votes. When she did show up, she didn’t vote,” he said. “She votes ‘present,’ I think for presidential reasons — that’s up to her. She’s said what she did and why she did it, but it has to do with her presidential campaign. It has nothing to do with representing the people of Hawaii.”
In a statement last week, Gabbard said she voted “present” during President Donald Trump’s House impeachment deliberations because the “removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process.”
Gabbard announced in October that she will not be seeking reelection for her congressional seat.
If Gabbard resigns from her post, Hawaii would need to conduct a special election to replace her.
Abercrombie c0-chairs Hilo Sen. Kai Kahele’s campaign for Gabbard’s seat. He said he would support Kahele in a special election as well.
Abercrombie explained that he was once one of Gabbard’s earliest supporters and said he worked hard to help her secure her committee assignments in Congress.
“I certainly do not agree with her intention to run for president. If she had asked me about it, I would have counseled her not to do it,” he said.
Abercrombie left Gabbard a message expressing his opinion that she should resign, but said he had not heard back from her.
“If she offers the opportunity for a special election [by resigning], then she’s showing respect for the people of the second district and respect for the people of Hawaii,” he said.
Gabbard's Hawaii Communications Director T. Ilihia Gionson said her presidential campaign has not compromised her commitment to serving Hawaii residents--but declined to comment when asked if Gabbard plans to resign.