Former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie believes Rep. Tulsi Gabbard can best serve the people of the state by resigning. Abercrombie—a Democrat who represented Hawaii's 1st Congressional District in the House for 18 years—says Gabbard has been largely absent from Congress during her run for president and she should step down immediately so a special election can be held for her 2nd District seat. He resigned his House seat to run for governor in 2010. "Trying to do my job in Washington and run for office, another office, in Hawaii was just too difficult. I couldn’'t do it," Abercrombie tells Politico. "I had hoped maybe I could do it, and it became obvious that I couldn't." Abercrombie is co-chair of state Sen. Kai Kahele's campaign to replace Gabbard.
"A whole lot of things are going to be going on and happening here and in Washington over the next year and to essentially deprive half the state of Hawaii of representation in that sense is unacceptable," Abercrombie says, per the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Gabbard's Hawaii communications director said in a statement that Hawaii is still Gabbard's "home and her heart" and her pursuit of the Democratic nomination hasn't compromised her commitment to serve the state. Gabbard has missed 85% of House votes since October and controversially voted "Present" on President Trump's impeachment. "Put me in coach! I'm ready," tweeted Kahele. (Trump praised Gabbard for her vote.)