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WASHINGTON — Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard lagged far behind the rest of the 2020 Democratic field during Saturday’s primary in South Carolina.
Gabbard only received 1.3% of the vote, which was enough to leave her in last place among the main candidates still in the race.
Former Vice President Joe Biden received the largest share of the vote with 48.4%. He was followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 19.9% and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer with 11.3%.
The Associated Press declared Biden the winner almost immediately after the polls closed Saturday. Biden needed to do well in South Carolina to keep his campaign alive heading into Super Tuesday.
Steyer, on the other hand, announced he was dropping out even though it was his best showing to date.
Gabbard has placed at or near the bottom among the main Democratic contenders in each of the early voting states, including in New Hampshire, where she only captured 3.3% of the vote despite spending significant amounts of time and money there.
In Iowa and Nevada, two caucus states where Gabbard limited her campaign time, she received 0.0% and 0.1% of the respective vote.
Poor showings haven’t stopped Gabbard from criss-crossing the country. In addition to South Carolina, Gabbard has focused on a number of Super Tuesday states.
She’s held a series of events in Utah, Colorado, Maine and Virginia. She scheduled a surf session in California and a town hall in Texas. On Tuesday, as voters in those states cast their ballots, Gabbard will be in Detroit, Michigan, which doesn’t hold its primary until March 10.
The congresswoman barely registers in national polls, hovering at less than 2% support, according to Real Clear Politics. Her base is an amalgamation of far-left progressives, libertarian-minded independents and disenchanted conservatives, some of whom voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
Unlike other candidates, she hasn’t presented a detailed plan of what she would do as president to address issues, such as immigration or healthcare.
For example, she’s said she supports Medicare-for-all, but hasn’t provided any specifics about what her plan might look like or how it would be different from that of other candidates.
Her campaign website simply states she supports “a single-payer system where everyone contributes and is covered, and that will also allow individuals to access private insurance if they choose.”
The site also lists a handful of bills introduced by others that the congresswoman has signed onto in recent years, including those looking to rein in drug prices.
Instead, Gabbard has focused her platform on ending what she describes as regime-change wars and using those savings to help bolster domestic spending priorities.
The congresswoman has spent much of her campaign lashing out at her detractors and anyone else she perceives as a hindrance to her political ambitions.
Early on she began attacking the press, saying that the mainstream media was somehow ignoring her campaign while at the same time smearing her.
She filed a $50 million lawsuit against Google in July after the tech giant temporarily suspended her campaign’s advertising account due to what the company described as unusual activity that tripped its automated fraud detection system.
In January, Gabbard filed another $50 million lawsuit, this time against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for comments she made describing the Hawaii congresswoman as a “favorite of the Russians” and someone who was being groomed by Republicans to run as a third party candidate.
On Friday, just one day before South Carolinians cast their ballots, The Hill published an op-ed from Gabbard in which she attacked the U.S. intelligence community and journalists over media reports that officials had briefed Sanders about Russia’s attempts to bolster his campaign in an attempt to sow discord in the 2020 election.
“It’s extremely disingenuous for ‘journalists’ and rival candidates to publicize a news article that merely asserts, without presenting any evidence, that Russia is ‘helping’ Bernie Sanders — but provides no information as to what that ‘help’ allegedly consists of,” Gabbard wrote.
“The American people have the right to know this information in order to put Russia’s alleged ‘interference’ into proper perspective. It is a mystery why the Intelligence Community would want to hide these details from us. Instead it is relying on highly dubious and vague insinuations filtered through its preferred media outlets, which seem designed to create a panic rather than actually inform the public about a genuine threat.”
Gabbard is an ally of Sanders, and in 2016 resigned from her post as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to endorse him over Hillary Clinton.
Last week, she dodged the question when asked by Fox News host Neil Cavuto about whether she would make a good vice presidential candidate for Sanders should he win the nomination.
“Bernie is a friend,” she said. “But I’m very focused on doing exactly what we’re doing. Carrying this message that I’m sharing with you and your viewers here today.”
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