Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Four-term Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is giving up her House seat to focus on her White House bid.
Gabbard said late Thursday she will not seek re-election next year.
"I will not be seeking re-election to Congress in 2020, and humbly ask you for your support for my candidacy for President of the United States," she said in a statement titled, "Mahalo, Hawaii."
"Washington, our country, and the world is in dire need of aloha," she added, using the famous Hawaiian greeting.
Gabbard said her experience as a U.S. soldier in the Middle East, combined with time on the House foreign affairs, armed services and homeland security committees, have prepared her for the presidency.
"At this time when our country is so divided, and our world is moving ever closer to a nuclear holocaust, a time when we may be sucked into another even more disastrous war in the Middle East, and tensions with other nuclear powers are escalating, and with that, a new arms race and Cold War that can only end in nuclear catastrophe, I believe I can best serve the people of Hawaii and our country as your president and commander-in-chief," she said.
Gabbard, 38, was elected to Hawaii's state legislature in 2002 at age 21. After her deployment, she served on Honolulu's City Council in 2011 and was elected to represent Hawaii's 2nd District in Washington, D.C., the following year. She also served as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
"As president, I will lead with aloha -- putting people ahead of profits, putting people ahead of politics, putting the well-being of our people and our planet above all else," she wrote Thursday.
Gabbard had been running against Hawaii Sen. Kai Kahele for the state's Democratic nomination for the 2nd District. So far, Gabbard has not met more stringent party requirements to qualify for the next primary debate in Georgia on Nov. 20. She has met the donor threshold -- from at least 165,000 individuals -- but has not gained the minimum poll support of 3 percent nationally or 5 percent in four early voting states. She has participated in all four debates so far.