Before today, there were some notable departures from the Democratic presidential field, including two senators and three governors. But all things considered, I think it’s fair to say Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-Calif.) exit from the 2020 stage is the most striking.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., dropped out of the presidential race on Tuesday, ending a 12-month campaign that began with an explosion of enthusiasm but fizzled quickly.
An aide told NBC News that that the senator had notified her staff Tuesday that she was dropping out of the race and the campaign emailed the news to supporters soon after.
In the email to supporters, Harris said her campaign “simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”
The senator added, “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.”
Harris went on to note that she was “suspending” her presidential bid, which technically means the campaign could be started anew should circumstances change, though for all intents and purposes, the Californian’s 2020 candidacy ended this afternoon.
Unlike other Democratic candidates who’ve dropped out after struggling to catch on, Harris was a very competitive candidate – over the summer, following a strong early debate performance, the senator broke into the top tier – who was poised to be one of only seven presidential hopefuls on the stage for this month’s primary debate.
But the challenge of changing Harris’ current trajectory was significant – and as of this afternoon, insurmountable. Her recent fundraising was clearly insufficient; her campaign operation was plagued by reports of internal divisions; she struggled to settle on a specific message; and the senator prepared to bet her candidacy on Iowa, where recent polling showed her running sixth.
I’d originally thought Harris could hang on until the primary in her home state of California – a delegate-rich contest that could help propel the senator for the remainder of the race – but recent polling showed her struggling in the Golden State, too.
It’s far too early for any serious discussion about the Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee, but no one will be surprised in the summer when Kamala Harris’ name appears on every running-mate short list, no matter who prevails in the fight for the presidential nomination.