Former Democrat Tulsi Gabbard threw her weight behind Republican South Dakota Gov. Christi Noem’s re-election effort Tuesday.
Gabbard released a new ad supporting Noem on Tuesday as the governor enters her final week of campaigning before Election Day. Noem is the clear favorite to defeat Democratic challenger Jamie Smith, currently holding a double-digit lead in the race, according to polls. Gabbard has supported several Republicans since publicly leaving the Democratic Party last month.
“I’m Tulsi Gabbard, and Kristi Noem is a friend of mine. We believe in defending freedom and protecting what makes this country so special,” Gabbard says in the ad. “Kristi loves South Dakota and fights against extreme policies that Jamie Smith supports, like raising taxes, mandating vaccines, and taking away your gun rights.”
“Extremists like Jamie Smith are why I left the Democratic Party,” she added before urging viewers to vote for Noem.
Gabbard announced her departure from the Democratic Party with a nearly 30-minute long video in early October.
Gabbard, who retired from the House of Representatives in 2021, attacked the institution as an “elitist cabal.” She did not announce plans to join the Republican Party or adopt any other political affiliation, despite endorsing some Republicans.
“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness who divide us by racializing every issue & stoke anti-white racism,” Gabbard said.
“I believe in a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people. Unfortunately, today’s Democratic Party does not. Instead, it stands for a government that is of, by and for the powerful elite,” she continued. “I’m calling on my fellow common sense, independent-minded Democrats to join me in leaving the Democratic Party.”
Gabbard has grown increasingly estranged from the Democratic establishment since her failed candidacy in the 2020 presidential primary. She has also become a vocal critic of President Biden, denouncing him for “pouring fuel on the flames” of division in the country.