Kamala Harris ends 2020 presidential campaign

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced she is ending her presidential bid primarily due to the lack of financial resources needed to continue. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.

Posted: Dec 4, 2019 1:10 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2019 1:10 AM

Sen. Kamala Harris ended her 2020 presidential campaign on Tuesday, an abrupt departure for a candidate who was once seen as a leading contender for the Democratic nomination.

The California Democrat told her senior staff of the decision Tuesday morning, and later sent an email to supporters and released a video on Twitter.

"To you my supporters, my dear supporters, it is with deep regret -- but also with deep gratitude -- that I am suspending our campaign today," Harris said in the video.

"But I want to be clear with you: I am still very much in this fight," Harris continued. "And I will keep fighting every day for what this campaign has been about. Justice for the people. All the people."

Harris' exit from the race is a precipitous fall for a candidate who launched her campaign to high expectations. The senator has struggled for months to move her low poll numbers and said Tuesday that financial pressures led her to end her bid. The lack of support and money led to internal squabbling in the closing months of the campaign, campaign sources told CNN, all of which contributed to her inability to stay in the race.

"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," Harris said. "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," Harris said.

Harris will travel to the early-voting states this week to personally and privately thank staff and supporters there for their hard work and dedication.

The move drew a snarky tweet from President Donald Trump, who said, "Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!"

Harris fired back: "Don't worry, Mr. President I'll see you at your trial."

Harris launched her campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, a nod to how her candidacy and possible nomination would be a historic moment for the country and party. Harris now exiting the race means Democrats are losing the only black woman -- a key voting bloc to the party -- running in the 2020 primary.

Harris had struggled to gain traction in the race for months. The campaign, in a bid to resuscitate her presidential hopes, turned all of its attention to Iowa in the fall, pledging to keep Harris in the state as much as possible and telling reporters that anything less than a third-place finish in the state would be a loss.

An early sign that Harris' bid was facing challenges came in November when her campaign -- in an effort to further go all in on Iowa -- all but shuttered her organization in New Hampshire and redeployed staff in Nevada and California to Iowa.

The move was an about face for the senator, who had launched her campaign by touting her ability not only to compete in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, but also seize on her local and neighboring status in Nevada and California.

But Harris' departure this early before the Iowa caucuses was unexpected, especially considering she had already qualified for the December debate stage, something a number of candidates still in the race had yet to do.

One reason that could have led to Harris' sudden ending of her bid: The financial situation inside the campaign was more dire than widely known. For example, the campaign had only reserved less than $10,000 for a digital ad that it had touted with much fanfare earlier this week. Ultimately, the ad was never released online; the buy was canceled on Monday.

Harris began to take a hard look at the campaign's resources over the Thanksgiving holiday, two sources told CNN, and made the decision to get out because she realized the financial realities of this race made it clear that success in Iowa and later primary contests was not possible.

The senator made the final decision on Monday after discussing the path forward with her family and senior aides. She did a full audit of the campaign's finances before making an assessment over the weekend and Monday, the sources said.

The decision comes just weeks before the deadline for candidates to withdraw from the primary ballot in Harris' home state of California.

For some current and former aides who hold deep respect for the senator, dropping out at this juncture is a smart political move. One former aide said the timing gives Harris time to regroup and restructure her national political image around the upcoming impeachment hearings, which will likely come to the Senate in January.

A poor finish in her home state would have been an embarrassment that the adviser believed could have longer lasting political consequences.

"It's better than finishing fifth in California," said the ex-staffer.

There is a sense of relief among some Harris campaign staffers. The turmoil within the campaign has taken such a toll that some aides are eager to move on to other projects, one aide said.

Harris' withdrawal could have significant ramifications for the candidates still in the race. Her campaign was filled with a number of top Democratic operatives both nationally and in states like Iowa who will be highly sought after by competing operations, and donors that were tied to Harris -- many of whom come from wealthy circles in California -- may now feel more free to back other candidates.

In the Tuesday email to supporters, Harris said though she is 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."

The high point of Harris' campaign came during the first Democratic debate in June, when she confronted former Vice President Joe Biden on his past opposition to busing as a way to desegregate schools. The moment went viral, catapulting her in the polls and exposing a weakness in the vice president.

But the days after the moment, it was clear the confrontation did more harm than good, with Harris being accused of manufacturing a moment where there was little policy difference between the vice president and her.

Harris was on the decline since that moment, however, unable to sustain the momentum she had coming into the race.

This story has been updated.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 128152

Reported Deaths: 2354
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin33024980
Ramsey13609355
Dakota9467136
Anoka8324150
Stearns554641
Washington539968
Scott326534
Olmsted315930
St. Louis279765
Wright233214
Nobles219516
Clay215343
Blue Earth20037
Carver17247
Kandiyohi16395
Sherburne160621
Rice15929
Mower149915
Winona122518
Crow Wing94721
Lyon9416
Chisago9202
Waseca9199
Benton8827
Beltrami8397
Otter Tail7896
Todd7525
Steele7342
Nicollet70017
Itasca69617
Morrison6578
Freeborn6494
Douglas6323
Martin60216
Le Sueur5985
McLeod5764
Watonwan5724
Polk5574
Goodhue54211
Becker5193
Pine5190
Isanti5115
Chippewa4153
Carlton4031
Dodge3790
Mille Lacs37613
Hubbard3462
Cass3445
Wabasha3430
Pipestone33616
Meeker3183
Brown3113
Rock3113
Yellow Medicine2715
Cottonwood2650
Unassigned26553
Murray2643
Redwood26011
Fillmore2450
Sibley2423
Renville23711
Faribault2210
Roseau2160
Wadena2082
Jackson2041
Kanabec19410
Swift1931
Houston1861
Stevens1741
Lincoln1720
Pennington1711
Koochiching1644
Aitkin1592
Pope1520
Big Stone1310
Lac qui Parle1303
Wilkin1274
Lake1110
Norman1050
Mahnomen1041
Marshall971
Grant924
Clearwater880
Red Lake662
Traverse540
Lake of the Woods431
Kittson370
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111117

Reported Deaths: 1587
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18419283
Woodbury697994
Johnson571730
Black Hawk535098
Linn5245129
Dubuque489654
Scott421037
Story391018
Dallas336944
Pottawattamie309144
Sioux234314
Buena Vista222512
Marshall195936
Webster178914
Plymouth159426
Wapello149462
Clinton140926
Muscatine139358
Crawford133712
Des Moines13059
Cerro Gordo130423
Warren11856
Carroll107212
Jasper105534
Henry10075
Marion95710
Tama91837
Lee90710
Delaware72912
Dickinson7117
Wright7071
Boone6969
Mahaska65924
Bremer6389
Washington62711
Harrison6238
Jackson5583
Benton5381
Lyon5287
Louisa50715
Clay5044
Hamilton4613
Winnebago45818
Winneshiek4559
Hardin4495
Kossuth4460
Poweshiek44111
Floyd42411
Jones4223
Cedar4205
Buchanan4194
Emmet41517
Iowa3948
Cherokee3832
Franklin37818
Sac3774
Guthrie37615
Clayton3753
Page3740
Shelby3601
Mills3551
Butler3542
Fayette3543
Cass3512
Madison3512
Allamakee3438
Chickasaw3381
Clarke3283
Humboldt3083
Hancock2984
Palo Alto2982
Grundy2895
Calhoun2854
Howard2619
Osceola2610
Monroe25111
Mitchell2380
Monona2361
Taylor2302
Union2194
Appanoose2173
Pocahontas2172
Jefferson2121
Lucas1976
Fremont1881
Ida1842
Greene1820
Van Buren1662
Davis1634
Montgomery1616
Adair1481
Keokuk1481
Decatur1430
Audubon1381
Worth1340
Wayne1133
Ringgold832
Adams700
Unassigned140
Rochester
Clear
22° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 16°
Mason City
Clear
17° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 7°
Albert Lea
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Austin
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Overcast
25° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 18°
Tracking another round of snow for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Rochester Considers New Downtown Library Complex

Image

Rochester Public Works Proposes Speed Limit Reduction

Image

Sports Overtime part two

Image

Sports Overtime part one

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Friday

Image

Outdoor dining is on the rise and grant funding is helping

Image

Preventing self storage thefts

Image

Big plans for a new library building in Rochester

Image

Rochester Public Works proposed speed limit reduction

Image

Candidates in Iowa House District 54 talk to KIMT

Community Events