What Does Tulsi Gabbard's Rising Star Do For Hawaii?

Democratic Party of Hawaii

WASHINGTON — Tulsi Gabbard, rising star in the Democratic Party?

Just a few months ago, that might have made sense only if you were talking about the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

But that was before a dramatic come-from-behind victory in her primary race against Mufi Hannemann, a speaking engagement alongside former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the national convention in Charlotte, and a whirlwind tour with Capitol Hill power brokers here in Washington this week.

"Tulsi Gabbard is a rising star who has devoted her life to public service," Pelosi, now the House Democratic leader, said in an statement emailed by her office Wednesday after the two women met.

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, assistant minority leader and the House's third-ranking Democrat, told Civil Beat he meets regularly with candidates, including three or four alone Tuesday, the day Gabbard stopped by. But, he said in a Wednesday phone interview, "you tend to see the ones with the great potential, and she's certainly in that group."

Even if you take Pelosi and Clyburn (and CNN and the Los Angeles Times) at their word, what does that mean — for Gabbard, and for her would-be constituents in Hawaii?

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