Tulsi Gabbard campaign in disarray
From POLITICO, Jan 29, 2019 (excerpts)
… Campaign manager Rania Batrice and Gabbard’s consulting firm Revolution Messaging are set to depart after this weekend’s official kickoff in Hawaii, two sources familiar with the situation told POLITICO. Gabbard is leaning on her sister, Vrindavan, to fill the void….
Batrice is an experienced campaign operative and served as deputy campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent 2016 bid. But Gabbard‘s tumultuous rollout over the past several weeks suggested there is a disconnect between the candidate and her team….
Three people familiar with the presidential bid over the past few months describe a candidate who managed to be both indecisive and impulsive. Just announcing her candidacy became a minisaga that exhausted and bewildered people involved.
At first, Gabbard had vendors and staffers working through Thanksgiving weekend to get ready for a campaign rollout, only to pull back. Over the next several weeks, Gabbard went up to the starting line again — signaling to her team that a green light was imminent — only to make repeated retreats.
The pattern of false starts continued through Christmas and New Year's, frustrating people who worked through the holidays.
When Gabbard did finally announce she would make a 2020 run, her team was blindsided. "I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," she told CNN on a Friday night in a pre-taped interview for “The Van Jones Show.”
The Gabbard campaign website was not ready to go live; social media posts weren’t ready to be sent out. And Gabbard hadn’t signed off on the launch video.
The surprise announcement left Gabbard's aides working frantically on a Friday night to get everything up online. Jones himself was surprised by her announcement and did not expect it to come on his show.
In the days after the announcement, the campaign appeared to be frozen. Gabbard’s Instagram page occasionally posted 2020 campaign-style videos as she traveled back and forth between Hawaii and Washington. But unlike other likely or declared candidates, Gabbard didn’t follow up her announcement with a trip to any of the early 2020 presidential primary states, a routine move for any federal officeholder thinking about running for president.
Gabbard did ultimately release a launch video on Jan. 24, 13 days after her CNN interview. The campaign plans to have a formal kickoff in Hawaii on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Gabbard has faced a backlash in Hawaii. Her public feud with Hirono infuriated other Democratic politicians and activists in the state. She spent a week apologizing for her past comments opposing gay marriage and work for an anti-gay group run by her father.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser's editorial board weighed in against her candidacy. And state Sen. Kai Kahele, a fellow Democrat, recently declared his candidacy for Gabbard’s congressional seat. Days after he announced, the powerhouse liberal group Daily Kos, which directed millions of dollars to Democratic candidates in 2017 and 2018, endorsed Kahele….
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