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 2:10 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2019 2:10 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1519304

Reported Deaths: 23955
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1642651696
Cuyahoga1464072459
Hamilton1053661431
Montgomery740661279
Summit617841111
Lucas56338917
Butler51580718
Stark466811064
Lorain35628585
Warren32836377
Mahoning30787693
Clermont28193330
Lake27063448
Delaware24208164
Licking23939294
Trumbull22885561
Fairfield22395247
Greene22350326
Medina22047313
Clark19863354
Richland18586292
Portage17978252
Wood17454224
Allen16001279
Miami15582306
Muskingum14831185
Columbiana14080274
Wayne13791271
Tuscarawas12724311
Marion11976180
Scioto11469162
Pickaway11373142
Erie10904184
Ross10586203
Lawrence9759153
Ashtabula9741204
Hancock9707155
Belmont9309209
Geauga8965157
Jefferson8567199
Huron8404143
Union819859
Washington8093144
Sandusky7827151
Athens777779
Knox7739144
Darke7689158
Seneca7372145
Ashland6967130
Auglaize679799
Shelby6530115
Brown636491
Crawford6274130
Defiance6218105
Mercer616493
Fulton602896
Highland600499
Madison594578
Guernsey593071
Logan591096
Clinton583793
Preble5720125
Putnam5335110
Williams529288
Perry518363
Champaign513173
Jackson510273
Ottawa488586
Coshocton484683
Morrow458858
Pike434367
Fayette429263
Hardin419480
Gallia418467
Adams417195
Van Wert372382
Henry365372
Holmes3642125
Hocking356782
Wyandot324662
Carroll302365
Paulding280347
Meigs265851
Monroe216254
Noble200347
Morgan194033
Harrison182146
Vinton166625
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 52°
Angola
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 42°
Huntington
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 52°
Decatur
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 52°
Van Wert
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 56°
Showers on tap for Sunday with the chance of a few thunderstorms.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events