HONOLULU — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard expects to kick off her presidential campaign with a rally in her home state of Hawaii this weekend.
The Democratic congresswoman’s first rally on Saturday comes after she formally launched her effort with an online video and declaration on CNN last month.
Her nascent campaign swiftly ran into trouble as critics pounced on her efforts to block the legalization of same-sex marriage in Hawaii and a meeting she held with Syrian President Bashar Assad. She released a video apologizing for advocating against gay rights.
State Sen. Kai Kahele, a Democrat, then announced he would run for Gabbard’s congressional seat in 2020. Gabbard hasn’t said whether she plans to run for re-election as a congresswoman while simultaneously seeking the presidency.
Politico reported this week Gabbard campaign manager Rania Batrice was leaving.
The rally will be held on a lawn at a sprawling Hilton hotel complex in Waikiki.
Gabbard, 37, has said she’s running for president because U.S. military action in Iraq, Libya and Syria has destabilized the Middle East, made the U.S. less safe and cost thousands of American lives. She says terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group are stronger than before the Sept.11 terrorist attacks.
She was a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage when she served in the state Legislature in her 20s. But she has since disavowed those views and professes her support for LGBTQ rights.
Gabbard has represented Honolulu’s suburbs and rural Hawaii in the U.S. House since 2013. She is a combat veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait with the Hawaii National Guard.