Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is dropping her presidential bid. She informed her staff on Tuesday.
Harris held a call with her team in Iowa on Tuesday, saying that she had made the decision because of financial struggles experienced by the campaign.
“I don’t think anyone on my team was expecting this,” said one staffer, who said they were completely shocked by the news.
Harris will be going to New York City and Baltimore to inform staff there, and she intends to travel to the four early states where she has a campaign presence to be with her team there as well this week.
On Tuesday afternoon, Harris emailed her supporters that she was withdrawing from the presidential race:
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.
The news came just as a super PAC reserved airtime in Iowa for an ad blitz, set to begin on Tuesday, meant to bolster the candidate. (It quickly cancelled the spots after Harris’ announcement.) Harris’ team had been upfront about its financial issues and had cut staff in New Hampshire in order to double down on the caucus state.
Presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to reporters after a town hall in Iowa, said he was disappointed the California senator had been forced out of the contest.
“She’s a first-rate candidate and a real competitor and I have mixed emotions about it because she is really a solid, solid person and loaded with talent,” he said.
Harris entered the race as a top-tier candidate, drawing more than 20,000 people to a kickoff rally in Oakland. She faced immediate progressive scrutiny of her record as a prosecutor in California. Throughout the campaign, she struggled to weave together her progressive positioning as a senator and presidential candidate with the more traditional stances she held during her decades as a prosecutor.
The high point of her campaign came during the first presidential debate, when she attacked Biden for his stance on desegregation efforts in the 1970s. She skyrocketed in the polls, but was unable to sustain her place in the field as the Biden campaign aggressively fought back and Harris struggled to explain her own views on mandatory busing.
As her poll numbers began to sink in the late summer and early fall, her campaign announced a renewed focus on Iowa, ditching a previous strategy of focusing on her delegate-rich home state of California and heavily African-American South Carolina.
Harris was spending far more money than she was bringing in, and according to The New York Times, she made the final decision to drop out after a financial audit showed she would have to go into debt in order to stay in the race.
Robillard reported from Mason City, Iowa.