Kamala Harris has ended her presidential campaign, becoming the highest-profile Democrat so far to drop out of the race to take on Donald Trump in 2020.
With just two months to go until the Iowa caucuses, Ms Harris, 55, said in an email to supporters on Tuesday that her campaign “simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue”.
In an apparent dig at Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor, who entered the race late last month, Ms Harris added: “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.”
A new Hill-HarrisX poll published on Monday showed Mr Bloomberg ahead of Ms Harris by a 4 point margin among Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents. Mr Bloomberg has already spent more than $30m of his own money on television advertisements since declaring his candidacy days before Thanksgiving. Ms Harris’s campaign had raised $36.5m in total in the year to date.
Ms Harris’s campaign had just over $10.5m cash on hand at the end of the third quarter. Last month, she laid off dozens of staffers in New Hampshire and refocused her efforts on Iowa, amid a number of US media reports of disarray within her campaign.
Ms Harris is a former prosecutor who was the attorney-general of California before being elected as a US senator in 2016, and was seen as a potential frontrunner among Democrats vying for the party’s presidential nomination when she declared her candidacy in January. The only woman of colour running for president, she received a burst of support over the summer after attacking former vice-president Joe Biden in a televised debate over his record on race.
Ms Harris has since struggled to break through in the polls, languishing behind Mr Biden; Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator; Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator; and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
The latest average of polls compiled by the website Real Clear Politics showed Ms Harris had the backing of just 3.4 per cent of likely Democratic voters nationwide, and 3.3 per cent and 2.7 per cent in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively.
Ms Harris is the third Democratic presidential candidate to drop out of the race this week, following the departure of Montana governor Steve Bullock and former congressman Joe Sestak.
Fifteen Democrats remain in the running, though just six — Mr Biden, Mr Buttigieg, Mr Sanders, Ms Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senator, and billionaire investor Tom Steyer — have qualified for this month’s Democratic National Committee debate in Los Angeles, based on their polling and fundraising figures.
Many of Ms Harris’s former opponents praised her efforts on Tuesday.
Mr Biden told reporters in Iowa that Ms Harris was a “first-rate intellect and a first-rate candidate . . . I have mixed emotions about it, because she is really a solid, solid person”.
Mr Buttigieg said on Twitter that he was “grateful” for Ms Harris’s “leadership and the courage she brings to the Senate and the national debate”.
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