Expressing concerns that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has been unable to juggle her responsibilities as a member of Congress and a contender for president, former Hawaii governor and long-serving House member Neil Abercrombie called this week for Gabbard to relinquish her congressional seat.
“I believe people in 2nd District deserve representation and are not getting it and they are unlikely to be able to get it over the next year,” Abercrombie told reporters in Honolulu on Monday, referring to the congressional district represented by Gabbard that includes all of the Hawaiian islands save for southern Oahu.
Abercrombie ― a Democrat who served as Hawaii’s governor from 2010 to 2014 and represented Hawaii’s 1st District in the House from 1991 to 2010 ― said Gabbard’s missed congressional votes and her absence from her district had convinced him that she needed to resign, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Her recent “present” vote on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump buttressed his opinion, Abercrombie added.
According to GovTrack, Gabbard ― considered a long-shot candidate in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president ― has missed 86% of votes in the House over the past three months.
The Star-Advertiser noted that this number was similarly high among other candidates for president who are serving in Congress.
Abercrombie told Politico that his own political experience had shown him how challenging it can be to fulfill congressional responsibilities while running for office. Abercrombie resigned from his congressional seat in 2009, months after announcing his gubernatorial bid.
Related: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throughout her political career
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throughout her political career
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throughout her political career
US Democratic Representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) on 'The Plight of Religious Minorities in India' on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 4, 2014. Several US lawmakers voiced concern for the future of religious minorities in India in a hearing that critics denounced as an attempt to influence upcoming elections. With polls starting April 7 in the world's largest democracy, several activists testifying before the US Congress' human rights commission expressed fear for the treatment of Muslims and Christians if Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi becomes the next prime minister, as surveys predict. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
First Hindu Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, speaks at the unveiling ceremony of life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Secaucus, NJ on May 31, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 25: Davan Gabbard (L), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (C) and Emily Tisch Sussman attend ELLE's annual Women in Washington Power List dinner hosted by Robbie Myers, ELLE Editor-in-Chief, with Gucci at Villa Firenze, the home of the Italian Ambassador, on March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Elle)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) â Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington D.C., Sunday, March 10, 2013. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends news conference with democratic freshmen members-elect, in the Capitol Visitor Center. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, talks with Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC, before the Congressional Women's Softball game that pits Congresswomen against female journalists at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill. The reporters prevailed in a 11-8 victory. The game benefits the Young Survival Coalition that helps young women with breast cancer. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEB. 01, 2012: Tulsi Gabbard interviewed at Roll Call in Washington D.C. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call Photos)
UNITED STATES - JULY 26: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, nominates Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark)
US Representative Tulsi Gabbard speaks during Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 26, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, greets Celestino Almeda, a veteran reprinting the Philippine Commonwealth Army, during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II on October 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Emancipation Hall to honor Filipino veterans of World War II on October 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06: Tulsi Gabbard speaks at Bernie Sanders 'A future to believe in San Francisco GOTV Concert' at Crissy Field San Francisco on June 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Brian Mast, R-Fla., conduct a news conference in Rayburn Building on the Burn Pits Accountability Act, which evaluates the 'exposure of U.S. service members and veterans to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals,' on May 17, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Abraham Williams (L) and Tulsi Gabbard attend the Sean Penn CORE Gala benefiting the organization formerly known as J/P HRO & its life-saving work across Haiti & the world at The Wiltern on January 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for CORE, formerly J/P HRO )
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“Trying to do my job in Washington and run for office, another office, in Hawaii was just too difficult. I couldn’t do it,” he recalled of his gubernatorial campaign. “I had hoped maybe I could do it, and it became obvious that I couldn’t. So I resigned my seat.”
Abercrombie is currently co-chair on the congressional campaign of state Sen. Kai Kahele, who is vying for Gabbard’s seat. Abercrombie said, however, that Kahele had not been involved in his decision to call for Gabbard’s resignation.
“He didn’t ask me to do it,” Abercrombie told Politico. “Whether it’s good for him or not good for him, I don’t know. I think what’s good for the people of the 2nd District should be the primary question, and I’m sure he agrees with that.”
Gabbard said in October that she would not be seeking reelection to Congress next year.
“I’m fully committed to my offer to serve you, the people of Hawaii & America, as your President & Commander-in-Chief,” she said in a tweet. “So I will not be seeking reelection to Congress in 2020. I humbly ask for your support for my candidacy for President of the United States.”
I'm so grateful to the people of Hawaiʻi for allowing me to serve you in Congress for the last 7 years. Throughout my life, I’ve always made my decisions based on where I felt I could do the most good. In light of the challenges we face, I believe I can... https://t.co/cNcjSNSoZlpic.twitter.com/h3wM6AZLMs