Reporting from HuffPost indicates that California Senator Kamala Harris is dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary. The abrupt departure from the race before a single vote is cast bookends a stunning decline for the junior senator. The news has yet to be confirmed by the Harris campaign, although reports say she is currently informing her staff.
Plagued by indecision, Harris went from one of the primary’s front runners to a consistently second-tier candidate. The excitement from a massive announcement rally in Oakland gave way to a summer of fumbles; Harris publicly struggled with her support for Medicare-for-All, rolled out a myopic series of policy positions dubbed the 3 AM agenda, refused to reckon with questionable actions in her prosecutor past, and failed to capitalize on a cathartic performance in the first debate. These missteps, along with a campaign structure plagued with conflicting sources of power, led to a narrative among the press and voters that Harris’ candidacy was stilted.
In recent days, both the New York Times and Washington Post published long stories detailing the breakdown of her campaign, a traditional signifier in primary campaigns that things are dire. Harris was in the midst of refocusing her campaign on winning the Iowa primary, laying off staff in other states and devoting most of her time to campaigning in the state. Despite this focus, her numbers in Iowa failed to improve, and a poll published yesterday showed her national standing had been overtaken by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Harris’ departure leaves the race without a female African-American candidate. All eyes will be on where her supporters go; whether towards another moderate like Joe Biden or another criminal justice advocate like Corey Booker remains to be seen. The other major candidate to drop out, Beto O’Rourke, has not yet endorsed one of this rivals, and there’s no indication yet that Harris plans to do so in the near future.