Something unusual happened this week: Tulsi Gabbard voted in Congress.

It probably had something to do with the fact that the bills included measures helping military veterans and restricting U.S. forces from fighting Iran.

She also voted “nay” on overhauling federal surveillance laws. And last week Gabbard voted to pass an emergency funding bill to address the coronavirus public health crisis.

It’s great to see Gabbard back on the job that we pay her $174,000 to do.

But the Democrat who purports to represent Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District in Washington, D.C., has still been skipping out a lot on her day gig as she seeks to change her residency from CD2 to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It’s time for her to be straight with the voters who sent her to Congress about exactly what she is doing remaining in a race she can’t win.

Candidate Tulsi Gabbard (back center in hat) joined surfers with City Surf Project in Pacifica, California and held a town hall in San Francisco on March 1. This is a screen shot from the Tulsi 2020 website.

According to ProPublica, as of Wednesday Gabbard had missed 41.6% of votes in the 116th Congress (2019-20), making her the No. 1 most absent member of the House of Representatives.

Well, at least she’s winning at something. She beat out 430 other members to earn the dubious distinction.

In the meantime, Gabbard on Super Tuesday II garnered less than 1% of the vote for each of the six states on the ballot.

Here is the satirical story that the The Onion ran the next day: “Tulsi Gabbard Named Democratic Nominee After Discovery Of Obscure Rule That Grants Nomination To Whoever Wins 0.7% Of The Vote In Missouri.”

Theories Abound

Many of us never expected Gabbard to win the Democratic nomination.

But why she remains in the hunt after being thoroughly rejected by voters in 24 states and American Samoa (sorry, Tulsi, but finishing a distant second in your birth place is not a win) is a big mystery.

The candidate continues to blame others for her failure to qualify for the latest round of debates.

I emailed Gabbard’s campaign Wednesday with the following inquiry:

Aloha. I am seeking comment from Rep. Gabbard regarding her presidential campaign. My deadline is 3 pm HST.

Here are my questions:

  1. How long does Rep. Gabbard plan to stay in the race?
  2. If she plans to stay in the race, what are the reasons, given her very low delegate count?
  3. What message does she have for her constituents who wonder why she doesn’t focus on her congressional responsibilities?

Please advise, thanks. I am always available to take a phone call from Rep. Gabbard, if that works best.

—Chad

Absent a response from the candidate herself, one can only speculate why she hasn’t yet dropped out.

One theory has it that she’s gunning for a regular gig on Fox News.

Another is that she plans to quit the race soon to announce that she will — after further consideration — run for re-election to the House, even though she said months ago that she would not.

A third theory is that she will leave the Democratic Party and run for president as an independent candidate.

A fourth theory is that she wants to keep raising campaign cash so she can, as my colleague Nick Grube has reported, continue to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to people affiliated with the “fringe sect” she grew up with.

Gabbard with Zhang Weili earlier this month after the athlete successfully defended her UFC straw-weight championship title. “This rigged election is proving to be far from a fair fight, but our Champion for the people is no stranger to long odds,” Gabbard’s campaign said in an email to supporters Monday.

And a fifth theory is that actuarial tables indicate that two men in their late 70s named Bernie and Joe could well expire before the Democratic National Convention meets in Milwaukee in mid July. And then it’s all Tulsi Time, baby!

I did not hear back from the Tulsi 2020 campaign before my deadline, but I did see an email to supporters early Wednesday afternoon.

Gabbard wanted people to know that she hears us, that she’s here with us during these “troubling times,” and that — in spite of “a global pandemic, the escalating threat of nuclear war, unmitigated climate change” — each crisis requires a global solution.

The email continued, much of it in bold:

That is why I’m running, that’s why I’m still in this, and that’s why I’m so incredibly grateful to you — to the hundreds of thousands of you who are part of this grassroots movement, who have hit EVERY single fundraising goal we’ve put to you throughout this entire campaign.

By the end of her email pitch Gabbard said, “I’m not asking for money today (that will come — we are a 100% people-powered campaign and can’t afford to slow down).”

So, I guess that clears things up, eh?

Up next: Super Tuesday III on March 17, when primaries in the Biden-favored states of Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona will probably send Sanders packing.

And then Tulsi will be firmly in second place.

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