Kahele Releases Statement On Gabbard’s Exit from Congressional Race

October 25, 2019, 7:40 AM HST (Updated October 25, 2019, 7:40 AM)
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In the wake of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s announcement that she would not seek re-election to Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, Sen. Kai Kahele, who is running for her seat, thanked her for her service.

Kahele, who serves as Majority Floor Leader and Chairman of the Committee on Water and Land in the Hawaiʻi State Senate where he represents his hometown of Hilo, released a statement regarding Gabbard’s announcement late Thursday night.

“Since announcing her Presidential candidacy in January 2019, Congresswoman Gabbard has worked hard visiting towns and cities across the United States,” Kahele stated in an email. “This dedication, while worthy of admiration, meant that her congressional district was often left without a voice in Washington, D.C. I wholly respect and appreciate the Congresswoman’s decision not to seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives as she pursues the Presidency. I thank her for her service, and I wish her and her family the best going forward.”

Kahele also states that he remains fully committed to his campaign to become Hawaii’s next congressman.

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“While our opponent may change, the fundamentals of building our grassroots campaign will not,” he said. “When I announced my candidacy earlier this year, I pledged that I would take nothing for granted. I am traveling to each island, engaging with every community and sitting down with our neighbors, friends and ‘ohana to hear directly about their concerns and to see how I may best represent them in Washington, D.C. Thatʻs what I have been focused on for the last 10 months, and that’s what I will continue to do until the primary election next August. I will continue to work hard to earn the faith, confidence and vote of every resident of the 2nd District.”

Kahele is an 18-year combat veteran aviator who was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard.

Former Hawaiʻi Governors John Waiheʻe, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Kahele for Congress Campaign Committee. Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson formally endorsed Kahele’s candidacy. The Kahele for Congress campaign has raised over half a million dollars since January 21, 2019.

The 2nd Congressional District encompasses Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kaua’i, Niʻihau and the rural parts of Oʻahu, including Waimānalo, Kailua, Kāneʻohe, the North Shore, and the Leeward coast.

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