Gabbard won’t boycott Democratic presidential debate in Ohio after all

Updated: Oct. 14, 2019 at 12:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced Monday morning on Twitter that she will participate in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate after all.

Last week, claiming a “rigged” primary process, Gabbard said she was seriously considering boycotting the event. The announcement generated headlines ― and some head scratching.

But on Monday morning, Gabbard posted a single sentence on Twitter: “I will be attending the debate.”

Twelve contenders, including Gabbard, have qualified for the Oct. 15 debate in Ohio.

In a video posted on social media Thursday, Gabbard said she was not sure she would take the debate stage because she believes the Democratic National Committee and corporate media rigged the 2016 primary election against Bernie Sanders and are trying to do it again with the 2020 primary.

She said the election is being rigged against early voting states.

“There are so many of you who I’ve met in Iowa and New Hampshire who have expressed to me how frustrated you are that the DNC and corporate media are essentially trying to usurp your role as voters in choosing who our Democratic nominee will be,” Gabbard said, in the video.

“In short, the DNC and corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process,” she added.

Depending on which poll you’re looking at, Gabbard is polling somewhere between 0 and close to 2% nationally.

The Hawaii Congresswoman has participated in two Democratic nationally-televised debates so far, and missed the qualifying mark for one.

After the 38-year-old combat veteran didn’t qualify for the September debate, her campaign reached out to supporters for more money, saying she missed out on media coverage equivalent to millions of dollars in advertising.

HNN political analyst Colin Moore called Gabbard’s threat to skip the next debate “a publicity stunt.”

“I think its extremely unlikely she’s going to boycott these debates,” he said.

Gabbard has had a rocky relationship with the Democratic Party nationally and the latest survey from Public Policy Polling shows 60% of primary voters in Gabbard’s own congressional district think she should drop out of the presidential race.

But if she intends on keeping her campaign alive, Moore says it’s in her best interest to get on that stage Tuesday.

“This really is an opportunity for her to get press coverage for a campaign that hasn’t been doing very well," he said.

Whether it was a stunt or not, Gabbard’s campaign gets to keep all the money she’s raised for her presidential run for future campaigns.

The Federal Election Commission says she’s raised nearly $6 million and has spent about half.

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