Dec 3, 2019

Kamala Harris drops out of 2020 presidential race

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Image

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race, her campaign confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

"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."
— Kamala Harris wrote in an email to supporters

The big picture: Harris spent the early parts of her campaign as a top-tier contender for the Democratic nomination, but struggled in the polls as Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg emerged as front-runners. She landed a few standout moments — most notably in the first debate, when she faced off with Biden over his opposition of federally mandated busing in the 1970s.

  • But while Harris' poll numbers saw a spike after the first debate, the moment failed to significantly alter the course of her campaign.
  • The senator laid off the majority of her New Hampshire staff in early November, hoping to go all-in on Iowa with limited cash on hand.
  • Last week, more than 50 current and former staffers spoke to the New York Times about dysfunction within the campaign. Many of them spoke on the record.

Between the lines: Harris publicly questioned whether her failure to gain traction was the result of America being unprepared to elect a woman of color. In an interview on "Axios on HBO," she called the issue "the elephant in the room about [her] campaign," adding:

  • "When there is not a reference point for who can do what, there is a lack of ability or a difficulty in imagining that someone who we have never seen can do a job that has been done, you know, 45 times by someone who is not that person."

Harris' record as a prosecutor also earned her criticism throughout the race.

  • Harris previously defended the death penalty, despite being personally opposed to it, and fought against legislation requiring investigations into police-involved shootings.
  • She also prosecuted a number of people for marijuana offenses, despite admitting to having smoked marijuana herself.

Worth noting: Harris is one of seven candidates who had qualified for the December Democratic debate.

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