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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530325

Reported Deaths: 10966
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763971520
Mobile40908804
Madison34717503
Tuscaloosa25730452
Montgomery24314588
Shelby23401249
Baldwin21107307
Lee15856171
Calhoun14488314
Morgan14282279
Etowah13819353
Marshall12210223
Houston10557280
Elmore10044205
Limestone9954150
Cullman9649193
St. Clair9644242
Lauderdale9419241
DeKalb8825185
Talladega8214175
Walker7223277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6804112
Blount6651137
Colbert6292134
Coffee5506119
Dale4828111
Russell440638
Chilton4279112
Franklin425582
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4019152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3547151
Clarke350861
Marion3113100
Pike310577
Lawrence299898
Winston274072
Bibb260464
Marengo249264
Geneva249077
Pickens234160
Barbour230757
Hale222677
Butler215969
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184445
Randolph179941
Monroe177340
Washington167039
Macon158750
Clay156156
Crenshaw152057
Cleburne148741
Lamar141934
Lowndes138653
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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