Skip to main content

Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) suspended her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, the nadir of a months-long slump for a once-rising star who was never able to turn her political talents into a sustained movement.

Harris entered the race as a front-running candidate, gifted with a compelling backstory, a commanding stage presence and a donor base in the largest and wealthiest state in the nation, launching her campaign with a show-of-force rally that drew tens of thousands to her hometown of Oakland. But eleven months later, Harris told supporters that she was no longer financially capable of running a strong campaign.

“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 wrote. “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,” she wrote.

At times over the course of her eleven months in the race, Harris seemed to have the greatest potential to replicate then-Sen. Barack Obama’s rise from state office to the Senate and the White House. She hoped to reassemble Obama’s coalition of younger and African American voters, and she demonstrated an ability to command a debate stage like few others among her peers.

She built a formidable campaign, relying on a brain trust that combined a stable of veteran California strategists who have guided her entire career and her sister Maya, a longtime Democratic policy expert. Harris won key endorsements among activists in Iowa and hired an army of field organizers among the largest in the critical first-in-the-nation caucus state.

“She assembled a really good team. She had some really smart, talented people on her team,” said Doug Thornell, a Democratic strategist who is unaligned in the presidential contest. “She had a really good launch, which set a high bar.”

But Harris struggled to convert the early enthusiasm into steady support. As other candidates staked out ideological lanes and cultivated voters with plans to address critical issues to Democratic primary voters, Harris seemed undefined, cycling through campaign themes and strategies.

As other candidates chose sides on how dramatically to overhaul the nation’s health care system, Harris tried to straddle warring camps. Once a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) Medicaid for All bill, she dropped her cosponsorship. On the debate stage, she could not concisely articulate her views on what was becoming a key dividing line within the Democratic Party.

Harris never found a way to capitalize on her two best assets — her home state, the largest single delegation to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and her career as a tough prosecutor that fueled her fiery stage presence.

On the debate stage, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) sharply criticized Harris’s record as California’s attorney general, accusing her of locking up minorities and low-level drug offenders. And in California she led just one poll, in July.

As Harris debated how to position herself, other candidates filled in gaps around her. Former Vice President Joe Biden positioned himself as the most likely to beat President Trump. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) became the progressive champion with the policy plans to match. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg used an early break-out moment to set himself up as the moderate alternative.

Harris tried, and failed, to keep a toe in all three lanes.

“She wasn’t able to craft a clear identity for her campaign,” Thornell said. “They were sliding from one rationale to the next, and what hovered over a lot of this in the beginning was, it seemed she was unable to figure out how to use her prosecutor background to her advantage.”

Her campaign, too, struggled to capture a moment in a meaningful way. Harris’s biggest breakout moment came in the first Democratic debate, when she confronted Biden. Her campaign buzzed with a short-term fundraising and polling boost, but failed to convert into sustained support.

Harris’s poll numbers jumped after that debate to their highest point, but she slid almost continuously afterward. She dropped below 10 percent in both national and Iowa polls in August and never recovered.

And tensions flared among the Baltimore-based campaign team. Maya Harris, the candidate’s sister and a veteran Democratic policy expert, clashed with Juan Rodriguez, her campaign manager, over staffing, spending and policy decisions. Top supporters publicly urged Harris to fire Rodriguez and sideline her consulting team.

In recent weeks, as fundraising slowed, Harris pledged a renewed focus on Iowa, laying off campaign staff in other early states.

Harris ended her campaign two weeks before the next Democratic debate, scheduled for December 19 in Los Angeles. She had already qualified for the debate stage, and a super PAC supporting her had begun purchasing airtime on Iowa television stations.

The super PAC began cancelling those reservations on Tuesday.

Rivals and supporters praised Harris after she announced her departure.

“She is a first-rate intellect, first-rate candidate and a real competitor,” Biden said as he left a campaign event in Mason City, Iowa. “I have mixed emotions about it because she is a solid person and loaded with talent.”

Harris’s exit from the race does not guarantee the end of her national presence. She is likely to be seriously considered as a potential vice presidential running mate, and her support will be coveted ahead of California’s Super Tuesday primary contest.

“Californians can be proud of Sen. Harris,” said Bob Mulholland, a Democratic National Committee member from California who supported her nomination. “There’s not enough length even on the L.A. freeway for these candidates, so she had a tough road but did well. Not this time.”

Harris is the first front-running candidate to abandon the race, and the third candidate this week to drop out, following Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and former Rep. Joe Sestak (D). Her term in the Senate does not expire until 2022.

On Tuesday, just as she dropped out, a poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found 61 percent of Democratic voters in California said she should quit the race.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canyon

The Amarillo Area Public Health has confirmed 1 case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canyon.

"Due to sensitive information we are not able to share details regarding this case," the city said in a statement.

On Monday, Canyon Mayor Gary Hinders hosted a Facebook Live giving details of Canyon’s response to COVID-19 Status Level Red, which is aligned with the City of Amarillo and new Amarillo Public Health guidance.

Effective immediately, Amarillo Public Health has updated its coronavirus (COVID-19) Level to RED. This is the highest alert level, indicating there are widespread confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Amarillo and the surrounding area.

Hinders issued stay at home guidelines, that went into effect tonight, (March 30) at 11:59 pm and will be in place at least through Monday, April 13, 2020.

"We ask that residents stay at home except for outings essential to their own health, safety, and welfare and that of their family members," the city said.

Under these guideline…

Grocery stores impacted by COVID-19 outbreak

With the continued spread of COVID-19, many grocery stores throughout the area have been facing changes in operations as well as economic impacts.

Nancy Sharp, manager of communications and community engagement for the United “family,” which includes all Llano Logistics, RC Taylor, United Express, Amigos, Market Street and United Supermarkets, said COVID-19 has many people doing some fear-driven, panic-type buying, causing a significant increase in traffic in stores and people purchasing items.

The closure of dining establishments has also impacted sales as more people are cooking at home, which Sharp said has provided an increase to grocery stores across the country. The increase in traffic has also increased the amount of people who are working in the stores and the need for additional cleaning.

“We are cleaning multiple times a day, multiple surfaces. And so that has definitely increased the number,” Sharp said. “We're restocking several times a day; that also has increased th…

White House projects between 100,000 and 240,000 American deaths from coronavirus

President Trump's top health advisers said Tuesday that models show between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the novel coronavirus even if the country keeps stringent social distancing guidelines in place.

Without any measures to mitigate the disease's spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.

The models, which were displayed at a White House press briefing Tuesday, underpinned Trump's decision to extend social distancing guidelines to the end of April.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, explained the data, urging the public to steel for difficult weeks ahead while expressing hope that the efforts would reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

“There’s no magic bullet, there’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors,” Birx said, adding that it would be those behaviors that could change “the course of the viral pandemic.”

Second COVID-19 case confirmed in Canyon

The Amarillo Area Public Health has confirmed a second positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canyon. Due to sensitive information the City of Canyon is not provided details on any cases.

Last week, Mayor Gary Hinders hosted a Facebook Live giving details of Canyon’s response to COVID-19 Status Level Red, which is aligned with the City of Amarillo and new Amarillo Public Health guidance.

Effective immediately, Amarillo Public Health has updated its coronavirus (COVID-19) Level to RED. This is the highest alert level, indicating there are widespread confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Amarillo and the surrounding area.

Hinders issued stay at home guidelines, that went into effect March 30 at 11:59 pm and will be in place at least through Monday, April 13, 2020.

"We ask that residents stay at home except for outings essential to their own health, safety, and welfare and that of their family members," the city said.

Under these guidelines, all businesses, except those essenti…

First COVID-19 death in Lubbock: City confirms 10 additional cases

The City of Lubbock confirmed its first COVID-19 related death in a news release on Saturday. The individual was a male in his 60s who had underlying health conditions and was a resident of Lubbock, according to the release.

As of 5 p.m. on Saturday, the City of Lubbock has confirmed 10 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Lubbock County to 41, according to the release.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has reported additional cases of COVID-19 in the surrounding areas to Lubbock County, including seven in Hockley County, one in Terry County, one in Gaines County, one in Hale County and one in Yoakum County, according to the release.

The City of Lubbock Health Department will continue monitoring individuals to reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19, according to the release.