Kamala Harris Drops Out of Presidential Race

Kamala Harris, whose campaign has been floundering for months, is out of the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination.

After months of speculation, polling, reports and fundraising records that clearly indicated that her once-promising campaign was floundering, California Senator Kamala Harris has dropped out of the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination:

Kamala Harris dropped her presidential campaign on Tuesday after months of failing to lift her candidacy from the bottom of the field — a premature ending 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. A person familiar with the call said she sounded distraught. While Harris had qualified for the December debate in her home state, 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.

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 Trump, was canceled.

(…)

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.

Here’s Harris’s Tweet:

Harris also posted an explanation for her decision on Medium:

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.

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.

I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s 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.

So, to you my supporters, it is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today.

(…)

I am extremely grateful to the hundreds of staff who moved and uprooted their lives and sacrificed time away from their families. I know our fight has been personal for each of them.

Of course, I could not have done this without my husband Doug and my entire family and friends who gave up so much to embark on this journey with me and have supported me every step of the way.

And I am grateful to the thousands of volunteers and contributors who chipped in, who knocked on doors, who made calls and who put their faith and trust in me. It has been the honor of my life to be your candidate.

And I want to be clear: 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.

Let’s keep fighting for the America we believe in, an America free of injustice. An America that we know we can be unburdened by what has been.

This decision comes after several reports, such as those I took note of in mid-November and again just this past Saturday, that indicates the extent to which Harris’s campaign, which had once seen her rise into the top four along with Former Vice-President Biden and Harris’s fellow Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, was falling into disarray, a fact that could be seen both in the polling numbers and fundraising, which appears to be the main reason she chose to drop out at this point.

Earlier this month it was reported that Harris was cutting back staff in every state except Iowa, where she apparently is concentrating her campaign efforts. It also comes after months of declining poll numbers and disappearing press attention as the front runners in the Democratic field appears to narrow down to Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg.

After peaking in the polls in the immediate aftermath of the first Democratic debate in June, the former Attorney General and current Senator from California began to slip in the polls and has not been able to stop that slide. Currently, for example, she’s polling at 3.4% in the RealClearPolitics national polling average, a significant drop from her peak shortly after the first debate, when she reached 15.9% and briefly held on to third place behind Biden and Sanders, the two frontrunners at the time.

In the statewide polls, she wasn’t faring much better. In Iowa, the state where she appears to be concentrating her resources at this point, she’s in sixth place at 3.3% after peaking over the summer at 16.0%. In New Hampshire, meanwhile, she’s dropped all the way down to ninth place with an average of 2.7 %. In Nevada, she’s in fifth place with an average poll result of 4.0%, just ahead of billionaire Tom Steyer. Her best performance is in South Carolina, but even there she stands at 6.3%, but that still puts her well behind Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg. Even in her home state of California, she’s in fourth place at 8.7% while her competition — Biden, Warren, and Sanders — are all in double digits.

The second issue that Harris faced is, as noted, a serious money problem that threatens to cause the campaign to significant problems just as we are heading into the closing months of the pre-primary part of the campaign. The best evidence of that can be seen in the fact that she raised just $11.6 million in the most recent quarter of the year, roughly the same numbers she saw in the first and second quarters of the year. More importantly, her cash-on-hand numbers were among the worst of any of the top five candidates, and that is only going to get worse if her fundraising continues to slow down.

With all this facing her, and the campaign itself apparently in internal disarray as various staff members sought to blame each other for what was going on, it was only inevitable that Harri’s campaign was going to come to an end. The only question was when it would happen. I had thought that she’d take one last shot at the upcoming debate to try to turn her campaign around, but from the post that Harris authored on Medium, it seems as though there wasn’t even sufficient money for the campaign to last that long.

Unlike most of the previous candidates who have dropped out, Harris was polling high enough in national and statewide polls to raise the question of where those who were supporting her might go now that her campaign. Given that she was at least partly appealing to some of the same progressive Democrats that Sanders and Warren are appealing to so it’s likely that many of them will end up backing one of those two candidates. It’s also possible, though, that we will see some of Harris’s supporters rally around former Vice-President Biden or MayorPete Buttigieg. We’ll have to wait until future polling that does not include Harris is released to see that, of course, but this move could have a real impact in states like South Carolina and California where Harris was still polling relatively decently.

All that being said, while Harris was a candidate who started out seeming like a promising candidate, she clearly didn’t have what it took to become one of the top contenders for the nomination. With the exception of that brief period after the first debate when she skyrocketed into the top tiers of the campaign after her attack on Joe Biden, Harris was always a candidate in the middle of the pack at best. After that peak, which she was utterly unable to exploit she began her slow slide back to where she had stood prior to the debate and, from there, into the doldrums where she was polling below candidates such as Andrew Yang and other single-digit candidates While it was possible that she could have turned herself around, she fumbled every opportunity she had in that regard. As a result, today’s developments, while coming earlier than might have been expected, were largely inevitable.

FILED UNDER: Kamala Harris, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I like her…based mostly on what I saw of her in hearings.
    I think she could have prosecuted the case against Trump effectively.
    But she wasn’t going to make it, and the winnowing is good.

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  2. Scott F. says:

    It speaks to Senator Harris’ political character that she’s the first candidate who has left the race who was still viable enough to be qualifying for the debates, including the one in December. She’s getting out before she was deemed irrelevant. Castro, Klobuchar, Gabbard, Yang – all should be so smart.

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  3. Scott F. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I think she could have prosecuted the case against Trump effectively.

    Perhaps she can still do that – as Attorney General when Trump is no longer in office and can therefore be indicted.

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  4. Kit says:

    She’s the first to throw in the towel from whom I expected more. Admitting defeat so early is a positive point in my book.

    If I were to give give her a single word of advice, it would be this line from La Rochefoucauld:

    To be a great man one should know how to profit by every phase of fortune.

    I hope we haven’t heard the last of her on the country’s biggest stage.

  5. Gustopher says:

    @Scott F.: I don’t know why people want everyone gone so soon. I mean, other than the people who haven’t held electoral office who are just an embarrassment to our party and shouldn’t be treated seriously.

    We have primaries to winnow the field down. That will happen soon enough.

    And there is a decent chance that a poor showing in an early state will puncture Biden’s claim of electability and throw the whole race open. Decent enough that a few plausible candidates should hang in there like vultures circling a septuagenarian presidential candidate. What else is Cory Booker going to do with his time? Take up alligator wrestling? The man is a vegan…

  6. Kari Q says:

    I think Scott F is right about her as Attorney General in a hypothetical Biden/Warren/ Buttigieg administration unless the nominee taps her as VP, which could make sense for a candidate who isn’t connecting with Black voters.

    I’m impressed that she is willing to withdraw before many others with less chance of winning. She’s bound for bigger things, I think.

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  7. mattbernius says:

    @Kari Q:

    I’m impressed that she is willing to withdraw before many others with less chance of winning. She’s bound for bigger things, I think.

    Its a really smart move from a strategic perspective. This gives plenty of time for her to heal wounds and contribute to a front-runner’s campaign.

  8. Scott F. says:

    @Gustopher:
    To be clear, I don’t want everyone gone, I just want the ones who are irrelevant to start stepping out. Harris wasn’t yet irrelevant (I always thought Harris had a good chance to pick up African-American voters at that time that Biden inevitably tanked), but I take it she didn’t think she could compete anymore on her terms.

    I say it is to her credit to that she knows the difference between viable and competitive. She is showing that she was in it to win, not merely to bolster her credentials. There are several more still in the race who could learn from her.

  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Scott F.:

    Harris wasn’t yet irrelevant (I always thought Harris had a good chance to pick up African-American voters at that time that Biden inevitably tanked), but I take it she didn’t think she could compete anymore on her terms.

    Because she couldn’t raise the money. Travesty that Steyer will be on the debate stage, and not her, because he has money. It’s a difficult problem, but we need to get money out of politics, somehow.

  10. Moosebreath says:

    @Scott F.:

    “It speaks to Senator Harris’ political character that she’s the first candidate who has left the race who was still viable enough to be qualifying for the debates, including the one in December.”

    I think Beto fell into that category, but I agree it is a sign of good character.

  11. Michael Cain says:

    Even in her home state of California, she’s in fourth place at 8.7% while her competition — Biden, Warren, and Sanders — are all in double digits.

    This was the crusher. If she were pulling down favorite-daughter kinds of numbers in California — say, half the delegates — and doing well with the Hispanic vote in Texas, she could ignore the first four states and still come out of Super Tuesday leading in delegates. I read a lot about Buttigieg doing badly with black voters, and Biden doing well. Is anyone running away with the Hispanic vote? California, Colorado, and Texas are all on March 3; Arizona and Florida two weeks later.

  12. An Interested Party says:

    It’s so much fun reading the bitter denunciations of Harris at places like National Review Online…meanwhile, these same people support Trump, the most corrupt and venal piece of trash to ever sit in the Oval Office…he makes Harris and just about everyone else in the Democratic primaries look like one of the founding fathers by comparison…and they have the nerve to call anyone else a hypocrite or a phony…that’s awfully rich of them…

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  13. EddieInCA says:

    @Gustopher:

    I want it down to the realistic 4 or 5. I still think it’s going to be Biden and Harris.

    Harris, Shestak and Bullock saw the writing on the wall. Good for them.

    Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are the only ones who have qualified for the next debate, which will have even less viewers than the last one, which had less viewers than the one before that. Interestingly enough, Harris had already qualified for that debate, yet still chose to bail. That shows she’s willing to lose a battle to win a war.

    Yang, Steyer, Bloomberg don’t have a path. Steyer and Bloomberg at least aren’t squandering the money given to them by supporters. Yang has an much chance as being the Democratic nominee as I do, and I’m not even running.

  14. Guarneri says:

    WTFU

    She’s been running for VP the whole time. She didn’t do herself any favors.

    Meanwhile, in bizzarro world, the goons on MSNBC, CNN, ABC etc inform us that she’s a victim of being a black woman. Mostly Republicans you see. Bigots. Republicans controlling the Dem primary. You just can’t even make this shirt up.

    But then we have Mayor Pete’s problem with the black community. He’s (hushed tones) gay, you know. Not bigots. No siree. Not bigots.

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  15. EddieInCA says:

    @Guarneri:

    Guarneri says: NOTHING.
    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 20:25

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    Words of Wisdom from Goonari’s boyfriend:

    I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” — Trump on women

    “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write, as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

    “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

    “Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it…You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.” — Trump on the Miss America pageant

    “Ariana Huffington is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man–he made a good decision.”

    “I did try and fuck her… I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”

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  17. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Inevitable. She’s not Klobachar dull but her personal charisma is moderate on her good outings.

    Americans want a President who can entertain then at times. Frankly, that’s the biggest problem with the entire Democratic field, none of them can walk into a room anywhere in the country and hold the crowds attention. Before he became politically radioactive…Trump could absolutely do these–in his sleep. The guys has a special set of skills that your typical political cant counter. In a different time, when people demanded tangible outcomes over personal magnetism, Trump wouldn’t stand a chance. In modern American however…entertainment is King. Period.

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  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Frankly, that’s the biggest problem with the entire Democratic field, none of them can walk into a room anywhere in the country and hold the crowds attention.

    Roger that. I never thought I would be so nostalgic for John Kerry, ferchrissakes.

  19. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32, @DrDaveT: Charisma ends up meaning different things to different people, and I would be wary of assuming that because you don’t connect with someone that other people don’t. Or vice versa.

    I think Warren is one of the best political speakers on the left — she can explain complex ideas in simple terms without being condescending. At least to me.

    And, years of listening to NPR have me convinced that Mayor Pete is amazingly charismatic. Or that someone needs to give him a wedgie. I’m a little unsure of that.

    I don’t have data to back up either of these as general feeling that are widely shared,though. And I don’t think there is good polling on the matter.

    But, I think I stand with most Americans when I say that John Kerry is not particularly personable. America was asked “Who would you rather have a beer with?” and they chose George W. Bush over John Kerry, and Bush doesn’t even drink.

    Hillary Clinton could be personable (her first Senate campaign showed that — she won over a lot of skeptical people), but apparently chose not to after that in favor of being more serious. Probably a mistake.

    We haven’t had a Demagogue on the left in ages. Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean came close, but nothing like Trump.

    Trump has an ease with stoking crowd’s anger and indignation that I haven’t seen in American Politics before. Bernie and Howard had a bit of righteous indignation, but that’s nothing compared to Trump.

    I’m glad Donald Trump is so old. Unlike the Roman Senate, the American Senate isn’t going to stand up to him, not that Roman democracy did well after Julius Caesar. A heart attack will save America, if we’re lucky.

    Damn, I wish George Clooney would run. I’d settle for Tom Hanks.

  20. EddieInCA says:

    @Gustopher:

    Trump has an ease with stoking crowd’s anger and indignation that I haven’t seen in American Politics before.

    I’m old enough to remember George Wallace. David Duke as well.

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  21. Nickel Front says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Trump, the most corrupt and venal piece of trash to ever sit in the Oval Office

    FDR would like a word…

    I honestly thought Kamala was It. Female. Black. So doubly oppressed, then add in progressive credentials, anti Trump, etc….I thought she was a shoo in.

    Turns out she’s just incredibly unlikable and a total phony incapable of connecting with people. Who knew?

    Also, Tulsi just plain destroyed her, and she never really recovered from that.

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  22. An Interested Party says:

    FDR would like a word…

    Oh my…first we learn that a lot of Republicans think Trump is a better president than Lincoln was and now we see some random Trumpist declare that FDR was more corrupt than Trump is…obviously someone has to be living in some alternate fantasy land to support this current president…I mean, can anyone imagine someone like Trump leading this country during WW II? We’d all be speaking German or Japanese right now…well, all of us except for the people sent to the camps…

  23. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    … but her personal charisma is moderate on her good outings.

    Kamila Harris speaking always struck me as the woman that was two strong cocktails ahead of you at the party.

  24. Tyrell says:

    @Scott F.: But others are getting in; Bloomberg for one, and Devel Patrick. Will others get in? Mark Cuban would be interesting, and I liked Howard Schultz’s ideas.
    I think that the pattern has been set for a field of twenty or more in the next several presidential elections.

  25. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Tyrell:

    I think that the pattern has been set for a field of twenty or more in the next several presidential elections.

    I rarely agree with you (mostly because I think you’re a persona and we are all the joke), but I believe your assessment is spot on here.

  26. Tyrell says:

    @Nickel Front: Harris is black? Where do you get that?

  27. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Tyrell:

    I believe he’s getting it from the fact that she’s black.

  28. Gustopher says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Tyrell doesn’t see color.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Nickel Front: Wow! FDR? Even St. Ronnie wouldn’t have said that, and he was the one who opined about “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” as the scariest phrase in English.

  30. mattbernius says:

    @Gustopher:

    Tyrell doesn’t see color.

    Oh contraire. Tyrell deeply respsects African Americans and their culture. That’s why he treasures his VHS copy of “Song of the South” as a reminder of the good ol’ days when PoC were happy to spin yarns and sing spirituals.

    His problem is that Kamala Harris never opted to do either of those, so she really can’t be black.

  31. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    We haven’t had a Demagogue on the left in ages. Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean came close, but nothing like Trump.

    I think one of the biggest challenges facing the Dems is the bumper sticker problem. Republicans are just a lot better at coming up with messages that could fit on a bumper sticker. This isn’t just a matter of their having more skillful communicators, it’s a reflection of the fact that Democratic policy tends to be more complex than Republican. The R’s scream “Build the wall!” and “Open borders!” The Dems say, “Well, we support some border security and sone deportations, but not to the level R’s are doing it and we’re against a wall, and we believe there should be a pathway to citizenship, though not amnesty….”

    Bill Clinton and Obama certainly had oratorical skills, but neither was particularly good at selling their agenda, and they both to varying degrees allowed it to be defined by the GOP. It’s notable that the ACA’s best-known name was a pejorative term invented by Republicans.

    Bernie Sanders is one Democrat (so to speak—at least he’s a member of the caucus) who seems to have nailed the bumper-sticker problem. “Medicare for all!” “Free college!” “Make the rich pay their fair share!” He’s relentlessly on-message because he’s so one-track-minded and manages to tie everything to the people vs. powerful theme. But this comes with all the downsides of bumper-sticker politics, including the oversimplification of policy and viewing all the country’s problems through a single lens.

  32. dmichael says:

    Typical Trump coarse treatment of women and the perfect response from Harris:
    Too bad. We will miss you Kamala. — Donald Trump, in a tweet
    Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial. — Kamala Harris, in a tweeted response

  33. An Interested Party says:
  34. Nickel Front says:

    @An Interested Party:

    all of us except for the people sent to the camps…

    I really hope you aren’t that stupid, but at this point I think you’ve made your case.

    Anyone who thinks Trump is the most corrupt President ever is completely ignorant of history and doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

    Hate to break it to you, but history didn’t start with Trump.

  35. Nickel Front says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think one of the biggest challenges facing the Dems is the bumper sticker problem.

    Are you kidding? Democrats have nothing but bumper sticker policies.

    Abolish ICE
    Tax the Rich
    Gender Pay Gap
    NoH8
    Putin’s Puppet
    Common Sense Gun Control
    We’re All Dreamers
    Sanctuary!
    Walls Are Meant For Climbing
    Bake The Cake

    Oh yeah… And Orange Man Bad.

    That’s literally ALL Dems have. Nothing thoughtful behind any of those.

    Bernie’s single lens is the Red one. Force 20% employee ownership of all companies! “But he’s not a Communist.”

  36. An Interested Party says:

    Hate to break it to you, but history didn’t start with Trump.

    On my, I never knew that before you came along! Thanks for the hot tip, sweetie…but yours is just one opinion…get back to us when you have an argument as convincing as this one or this one…see, the Orange Man really is bad…