African American senator Kamala Harris announced Tuesday she is ending her 2020 White House bid following a period of campaign turmoil and disappointing fundraising that saw her fail to break out of a crowded field.
“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,” the senator from California told supporters in an email.
“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”
Harris, 55, was the only African-American woman seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
She was the third candidate to drop out in recent days, along with low-polling Democrats Montana Governor Steve Bullock and former congressman Joe Sestak.
She rocketed toward the top of the field with a promising campaign launch in January, but saw her prospects slide in recent months as she struggled to define her positions on various domestic issues including health care.
Harris is one of the biggest names to date to drop out of the race, along with former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas and New York mayor Bill de Blasio.
After stagnating in fifth place in the polls, with about 3.4 percent support, she was bumped to sixth spot out of 16 candidates after billionaire former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg recently threw his hat in the presidential contest.
“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign,” she wrote to supporters. “As the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.”
It was a biting and unveiled swat at some of her rivals, including Bloomberg and billionaire activist Tom Steyer, and a telling revelation about the piles of cash a candidate needs to mount a viable campaign in today’s overheated political environment.
Harris has been one the fiercest critics of Donald Trump among the 2020 candidates, directly attacking the embattled president and repeatedly calling for his impeachment.
She also challenged Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden head on in the party’s first presidential debate, a move that proved a strategic mistake as her support slid while Biden’s largely held steady.
Harris quickly received accolades from other candidates on Twitter after her premature exit from the race.
“Her campaign broke barriers and did it with joy. Love you, sister,” said fellow Senator Cory Booker, the other black candidate in the 2020 race.