12092019What's Hot:

‘One of the hardest decisions of my life’: Kamala Harris ends once-promising campaign

Kamala Harris is ending her presidential campaign after months of failing to lift her candidacy from the bottom of the field — a premature departure for a California senator once heralded as a top-tier contender for the nomination.

Harris told aides of her intentions in an all-staff call on Tuesday, and a person familiar with the conversation said she sounded distraught. While Harris had qualified for the December debate in her home state later this month, she was running dangerously low on cash — lacking the resources to air TV ads in Iowa — and her staff was gripped by long-running internal turmoil.

Story Continued Below

Still, the news came as a shock to some of her biggest supporters. Just as Harris was announcing the news internally, a super PAC had cleared more than $ 1 million in TV ads in Iowa to boost her struggling campaign. The ad, which argued she was the best-equipped candidate to take on President Donald Trump, was canceled.

“Eleven months ago at the launch of our campaign in Oakland I told you all: ‘I am not perfect.’ But I will always speak with decency and moral clarity and treat all people with dignity and respect. I will lead with integrity. I will speak the truth. And that’s what I have tried to do every day of this campaign. So here’s the truth today,” Harris wrote in a note to supporters.

“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life. My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue .”

Harris, who spent Thanksgiving in Iowa with family, took a deep look at the campaign’s resources over the holiday and decided she did not have a path to the nomination. A Harris campaign aide said the expected impeachment trial in January further complicated the situation.

She made the decision Monday after discussions with her family and senior aides. Harris will travel to the early states this week to thank staff and supporters for their dedication to the campaign.

The senator did not bow out without taking a parting shot at her billionaire and self-funding rivals who made late entrances into the race this summer and fall.

“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign,” Harris said in a video explaining her decision to drop out. “And as the campaign has gone on, it has become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do.”

Once dubbed the “female Obama” by former Today Show anchor Matt Lauer, Harris’ campaign began on a promising note: Her kickoff rally in her hometown of Oakland drew more than 20,000 supporters who cheered wildly as she cast herself as the kind of fighter fit to take on a president like Trump.

Her candidacy got one of its first major breaks in the first Democratic debate in June, when Harris pulled off a blistering ambush of former Vice President Joe Biden over his previous stance on busing, which prompted another review of his record on race issues. Harris’ performance sent her soaring in the polls, and the campaign raised $ 2 million in the 24 hours following the debate.

But the attack blew back on Harris when her own stance on busing came under scrutiny in the days after. Her sharp rise in the polls did not last long, with Harris skidding into fifth place and registering in the single digits by September.

Throughout the campaign, Harris had never been steady on health care, many voters’ stated key issue. Harris spent months backtracking following an ill-fated moment in a CNN town hall in which she said, “let’s eliminate all that,” when asked whether she supported a health care plan that got rid of private insurance.

Her stumbles on the issue continued into the fall, as Harris waffled on whether she backed the kind of single-payer, “Medicare for All” plan championed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, or more incremental change.

In addition to health care, voters complained that they were unable to pin Harris down on a host of other issues. And what could have been one of her greatest strengths — her time spent as the top prosecutor in California — became a liability with a Democratic base that has turned sharply left on issues of criminal justice.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a low-polling Democratic wildcard, weaponized Harris’ prosecutorial record against her in a later debate, lambasting Harris with a set of somewhat misleading and out-of-context accusations. But Harris did not mount a full-throated defense in the moment, only reiterating that she was proud of her time as a prosecutor.

The campaign also struggled to bring in small-dollar donations, creating a greater reliance on the kind of big-money fundraisers some of Harris’ rivals have sworn off, and resulting in less-than-savory headlines about small controversies like her initial plan to skip a climate change town hall in favor of a fundraiser.

Harris further struggled with the question of electability as she addressed voters afraid the country might not be ready for a female president of color. From the earliest days of the campaign, Harris was subject to conspiracy theories that ricocheted around social media, even giving way to a reprisal of the same birtherism attacks that plagued former President Barack Obama.

Aides and supporters, meanwhile, have argued Harris has been held to a higher standard, especially in the media, than her fellow competitors, some of whom echoed that message themselves upon hearing the news she’d dropped out.

Recent weeks have carried numerous warning signs of a derailed campaign, with Harris suddenly shuttering much of the campaign’s New Hampshire operation as the senator focused squarely on Iowa, laying off staff rather than recalibrating her resources. Pre-drop-out campaign obituaries cropped up in a number of media outlets, as aides both in California and the campaign’s Baltimore headquarters pointed fingers at each other.

Harris’ financial struggles likely would have been compounded by the possibility of an impeachment trial in the beginning of the year, which will keep her and her fellow rivals in the Senate in Washington and off the campaign trail in the crucial weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses and potentially even the New Hampshire primary.

But in her video message Tuesday, Harris pledged to stay in the fight against Trump.

“I want to be clear,” she said. “Although I am no longer running for president, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump and fight for the future of our country and the best of who we are. I know you will too. So let’s do that together.”


Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic