When Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced on CNN earlier this month that she was running for president, her revelation shocked a lot of people — primarily members of her campaign team, who had no idea she was going to say anything, people familiar with the matter told Politico.
Gabbard shared the news during a Jan. 11 appearance on The Van Jones Show, before her website and social media posts were ready. Gabbard had originally wanted to roll out her campaign shortly after Thanksgiving, people familiar with the matter said, but she pulled back. Staffers continued to work during the holidays, and Gabbard regularly said she was ready to announce, then changed her mind. After her CNN appearance, staffers went into overdrive getting things ready, and she finally released her launch video on Jan. 24.
The drama doesn't end there. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser's editorial board is opposed to her candidacy, and her campaign manager, Rania Batrice, and consulting firm, Revolution Messaging, are walking away after her official kickoff event this weekend in Hawaii, Politico reports. A spokesperson said Revolution Messaging was always going to bow out when the campaign launched, and Batrice said she wishes Gabbard "all the best."
Gabbard supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during his 2016 presidential campaign, and Batrice served as his deputy campaign manager, but his backers in Hawaii aren't flocking to her campaign, former Democratic Party of Hawaii chairman Tim Vandeveer told Politico. "I think that proximity doesn't translate to support," he said. "I have yet to talk to a single Bernie Sanders supporter ... who is supporting Tulsi over Bernie."