The list of Democrats leaving the House this fall is set to grow in the coming weeks as Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele is reportedly retiring from Congress at the end of his term to run for governor, according to a new report.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed the decision to CNN, noting that the Hawaii Democrat has been telling colleagues of his plan. He reportedly intends to make a formal announcement in early May.
Kahele was suspected to throw his hat in the gubernatorial ring in recent weeks as he faced criticism for his part-time work as a commercial pilot for Hawaiian Airlines and his perennial absence from Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday, Kahele was spotted in the Capitol rotunda for the first time since January, according to Fox News.
Earlier this month, the Honolulu Civil Beat found that the Democrat was spending the majority of his time in Hawaii, voting by proxy at least 120 times since taking office. The outlet found that he only voted in person five times.
Despite the lack of physical presence on the Hill, the Congressman has defended his votes, saying “I haven’t missed a single vote this entire year. Not a single one.”
He has also defended his employment as a pilot – which has continued throughout his time in Congress.
His office revealed earlier in April that Kahele files “occasional flights to maintain his certification” and has insisted it is “fully in compliance with Ethics.”
It is unclear how many flights the Democrat has flown this year so far, or how much money he has earned in the process.
Members of the House are only permitted to earn $29,595 in outside income.
According to his 2020 financial disclosure report, Kahele made nearly $120,000 from Hawaiian Airlines.
If and when he officially announces his intention not to run for his seat, Kahele will be joining more than 30 other Democrats in the House that have already made similar announcements.
In contrast, only 18 Republicans will not be running for the House again.
Kahele was first elected to Congress in 2020. Previously, he served in the Hawaii State Senate.
His office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.