In a stunning turn of events, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced her exit from the 2020 presidential race on Tuesday.
Harris, once a promising presidential hopeful, delivered the news in an e-mail to supporters this week, saying her campaign has struggled to raise the funds needed to sustain her bid for the Democratic nomination.
“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,” she wrote. “My campaign for president simply does not have the financial resources that we need to continue.”
“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign,” Harris added, saying that as the campaign went on, “it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.”
Despite dropping out, the former district attorney insisted she was “still very much in this fight” and vowed to continue pushing for the values upon which she built her campaign: “Justice for The People. All the people.”
The announcement came just hours after Harris abruptly canceled a high-profile New York fundraiser on Tuesday, her campaign citing a “personnel matter” as the cause. According to CNBC, an invitation for the event showed the fundraiser was expected to draw some of the senator’s biggest donors, including financier Blair Effron and Chairman Brad Karp of the giant Paul Weiss law firm.
Both are listed as members of Harris’ financial committee, the outlet reported.
News of Harris’ exit sent shock waves across social media, with many sharing words of support.
“I’ve got you. As always,” her husband, Douglas Emhoff, tweeted alongside a black-and-white photo of the couple.
I’ve got you. As always.❤️ pic.twitter.com/5OJDT3cDfw
— Douglas Emhoff (@douglasemhoff) December 3, 2019
Sen. Cory Booker, who’s also vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, praised his fellow lawmaker as a “trailblazer.”
“My dear friend @KamalaHarris is a trailblazer,” the New Jersey senator wrote. “I’ve loved serving with her in the Senate and every moment we’ve run into one another on the trail. Her campaign broke barriers and did it with joy. Love you, sister.”
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz wrote: “Kamala Harris is an extraordinary leader and friend. This is a disappointing day for her and her team, no doubt, but she will return to the Senate with her reputation enhanced and her voice stronger than ever!”
It has been the honor of my life to be your candidate. We will keep up the fight.
Posted by Kamala Harris on Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Harris, 55, recently suffered a dip in the polls and scrambled to save face after reports that her campaign was struggling and in disarray. Last month, one of the senator’s former aides penned a scathing letter announcing her resignation, blasting the campaign’s alleged mistreatment of staff.
“This is my third presidential campaign and I’ve never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” Kelly Mehlenbacher, a state operations director for the campaign, wrote in the Nov. 11 letter obtained by The New York Times.
“While I still believe that Senator Harris is the strongest candidate to win in the General Election in 2020, I no longer have confidence in our campaign or its leadership,” she added.
Mehlenbacher said while the decision was “difficult,” it was unacceptable that the campaign “had no real plan” moving forward and just weeks out from the high-stakes Iowa Caucuses.
It’s estimated Harris spent over $25 million on her presidential campaign, finishing the third quarter raising just over $11 million, lagging far behind front-runners Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, among others, according to CNBC. She was also forced to cut campaign staff in Baltimore and New Hampshire in recent weeks.
Harris’ exit left 15 candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
See more reactions to news of her departure below:
Kamala Harris's track record on many things, particularly the criminal justice system, sex work, and trans liberation, never put me at ease. But we can't deny just how underestimated, devalued, and under resourced Black women leaders are in this country. https://t.co/coZ1qQh5rh
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) December 3, 2019
I just saw the news about Kamala Harris withdrawing and all I can think is I would love to live in a country where extremely qualified, brilliant black women could go further in presidential politics than otherwise mediocre white men with a pile of money.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) December 3, 2019
Kamala Harris was not my choice. I strongly disagreed with her politics. That said, she was held to a different standard than her peers, scrutinized more, and unfairly criticized. There’s room to disagree with her and still be honest about that fact.
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) December 3, 2019
I’m not a Kamala Harris fan (Bernie 2020), but it’s quite telling that the only Black woman has dropped out while a host of mediocre white men are still in, wasting our time with their inflated egos.
— Rebecca Parson for Congress (WA-06) (@RebeccaforWA) December 3, 2019
I am stunned that Kamala Harris is suspending her campaign. She is one of my favorite people to share time with on the trail. So warm, smart, fiery and a true public servant. She offered my family help and guidance when she didn’t need to. Kamala I will see you soon.
— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) December 3, 2019