For Gabbard, who is currently serving in her fourth term, things back home are not what they used to be. She has fallen in the polls with voters in her own district. Had she stayed on for reelection, she would have had to contend with an increasingly dissatisfied electorate and a primary challenge from Democratic state Sen. Kai Kahele, who has already announced his candidacy for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. A survey by Public Policy Polling has Gabbard leading Kahele, 48% to 26%. But that is close enough to become unpleasant, especially considering Kahele has raised $500,000, and she has raised essentially nothing for a reelection bid, focusing instead on her presidential race.
Kahele has also already secured endorsements from three former governors, suggesting that Gabbard would be going up against her entire state’s political establishment were she to stick around for reelection.