In Hawaii she had a spectacular falling out with Mazie Hirono, a fellow Democrat and one of the state’s senators, writing an op-ed accusing her of having “weaponised religion” for political purposes with her aggressive questioning during the Kavanaugh hearings.
Not surprisingly, the senator is not endorsing Ms Gabbard’s White House campaign.
“Congressional delegations have always thought of themselves as a team and almost never criticise each other,” said Colin Moore, the director of public policy at the University of Hawaii.
“They see their job as keeping their heads down and bringing federal dollars back to Hawaii.”
Some argue her mix of hawkishness on foreign policy and left-wing views on domestic matters could be helpful once the campaign gets underway.
“Her strength is that she is an independent thinker,” Mr Moore added.
“Tulsi has charisma, she is great on television and is one of the most popular politicians in the state.”
Another senior Hawaii Democrat activist also believes she has a lot to offer despite her earlier stance on gay marriage.
“If people ask where these views came from, they came from the cult she grew up with.
“I think she is strong, determined and pretty fearless. She is still adored on Fox News, she is seen as an attractive exotic woman and that makes it easier for people to like her,” he told the Telegraph.
“She is simultaneously reserved and warm. She can be defensive when people ask her questions she doesn’t want to answer because she knows the direction the questioning is going.”
Her candidacy has intrigued observers in Washington such as Brandon Barford, a partner at Beacon Policy Advisors.
“Tulsi Gabbard is interesting, she is close to moderates and military veterans like Seth Moulton.”
Even though more celebrated figures are running, experts such as Robert Shapiro, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government at Columbia University, are not writing her off.
“In a very large field, the debates will be important so everyone may have a shot. She has little name recognition now, however, so she is a longshot. But so was Trump.”