WASHINGTON — After threatening a boycott, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Monday that she will participate in the Democratic National Committee’s presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio, after all.
Her campaign issued a short, 22-word statement making the announcement.
“Thank you so much for your support,” Gabbard said. “I just want to let you know that I will be attending the debate. Aloha.”
Gabbard, who barely made the cut to take part in the Tuesday night affair, said last week she was considering pulling out of the debate due to her gripes with the DNC and the press over how she says she’s been treated.
The Hawaii congresswoman has accused the DNC of a lack of transparency in selecting the polls that would be used to qualify candidates for the debates. Her criticisms have even taken on a conspiratorial tone.
Similarly, Gabbard has repeatedly criticized the press, saying among other things that the media has both smeared and ignored her campaign.
Gabbard, who’s come under fire for a series of past controversies, from her attacks on the LGBTQ community in Hawaii as a state legislator to her secret meeting in 2017 with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is polling at less than 1% on average in national voter surveys.
She does better in early primary states, and in particular Iowa and New Hampshire, where she’s spent a lot of time and money.
According to polls tracked by Real Clear Politics, Gabbard’s polling average in both Iowa and New Hampshire is 2.3%, although she has reached as high as 6% in at least a couple surveys in the Granite State.
Gabbard missed the September debate due to low polling numbers. In July, the last time Gabbard was on the national debate stage, she made headlines for her criticism of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ record as a prosecutor and as California’s attorney general.
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