10202019What's Hot:

Internal Kamala Harris document acknowledges ‘Summer Slump’

The memo also provided a never-before-seen list of party influencers Sen. Kamala Harris is trying to woo. | John Locher/AP Photo

Exclusive

A briefing memo left behind at a New Hampshire restaurant and obtained by POLITICO reveals the issues her staff expected her to be grilled on.

Updated

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A briefing memo accidentally left behind at a restaurant here showed Kamala Harris’ staff expected her to be grilled on her lack of presence in the state as well as her campaign’s “summer slump.”

The document, obtained exclusively by POLITICO, detailed intricacies of her campaign’s relationships with Granite Staters she was set to meet last weekend — from how much her campaign has donated to local politicians to advice she received from a local TV reporter. It included talking points to rebut expected criticisms from voters or reporters, such as the limited number of visits she’s made to the first-in-the-nation primary state and her lackluster poll results.

Story Continued Below

“You haven’t traveled to New Hampshire as frequently as some of your Democratic rivals,” the memo, titled “Briefing and Talking Points,” said. “Is the state a priority for your campaign?”

Harris has struggled to break out of single digits in nationwide and New Hampshire polling over the past several weeks. In a CBS News poll released Sunday, she placed fifth in New Hampshire behind Pete Buttigieg and was 20 points behind frontrunner Elizabeth Warren.

The document had several pages of talking points, including: “NH absolutely a priority for my campaign — excited to be back for the convention and other events around the state,” and, “Note: Recent polling- Boston Globe/Suffolk (8/1-8/4) Biden 21%, Sanders 17%, Warren 14%, YOU 8%”

In a section called “Path To Victory — Summer Slump?” the first talking point is simply: “Fully intend to win.”

Harris sent a fundraising email to supporters using similar language the same day the memo was written.

“August was a rough month for fundraising and we barely scraped by hitting our goal,” the email said. “We expected to come out of the ‘summer slump’ this month, but the first days of September have proven even more difficult for fundraising than we expected.”

Staff urged her to key in on her budding infrastructure in Iowa, New Hampshire and California.

“Lots of voters are starting to tune in right after Labor Day,” the memo said. “Perspective — more debates ahead of us than behind us.”

Harris campaign spokesman Ian Sams called the document a “run of the mill” event briefing predicting questions from reporters that’s typical in campaigns.

“She is competing hard in New Hampshire and taking nothing for granted in the state.” Sams said. “We are grateful for the support and advice given to Senator Harris by people across New Hampshire, including key activists, elected officials, and leaders, and appreciate how much wisdom folks are sharing about the primary.”

Harris spent most of Friday and Saturday in the state and indeed was asked about a perceived lack of emphasis she is putting on the state. In response to questions from the media, Harris said she planned to spend more time here.

“New Hampshire and the people of New Hampshire really do represent the bellwether of who we are as a country,” she said in one interview.

Ahead of a private meeting with Martha Fuller Clark, the 77-year-old grande dame of the state Senate, Harris’ staff reminded her she has received donations totaling $ 1,750 from Clark. She is a key player every campaign has been trying to land an endorsement from as she serves as vice chair of the state party and an automatic delegate to the party’s national convention next July. It noted the two had never met, but Harris interacted with Clark’s husband, Geoff.

“She and her husband are big donors to democratic [sic] candidates and causes,” it said. It’s an understatement about the wealthy, well-connected couple who have already maxed out their donations to several federal candidates inside and outside the state.

The memo also provided a never-before-seen list of party influencers Harris is trying to woo.

Most recently, Harris had dinner in July with Bill Shaheen, another automatic delegate who is married to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). She’s also had one-on-one lunches with Joyce Craig, the first female mayor of Manchester, and state Sen. Martha Hennessey, whose district includes Dartmouth College and Hanover, one of the strongest bastions of Democratic voters in the state.

The briefing document also laid out potential responses to questions on her Medicare for All plans, gun control, climate change and mental health care for veterans. And it included notes on her stump speech and biographical information: that she’s a mother and fought for civil rights, for instance. It had a reminder to bring up the oft-told story of how her mom was five feet tall “but after meeting her, you’d have thought she was 7 feet tall.”

It included information about every event she participated in over her previous four trips to New Hampshire, including a one-on-one interview with a local anchor from the state’s only TV station. Veteran WMUR Political Director Adam Sexton, who is covering his fourth primary, offered a piece of advice:

“In May, Sexton gave YOU the advice to continue visiting New Hampshire because of the strong reception YOU have received in YOUR trips to the state,” it said.

CORRECTION: Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that Harris gave campaign money to Clark. Clark’s name was also misspelled.

This article tagged under:

Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning — in your inbox.

Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic