By Astead W Herndon and Shane Goldmacher
Sen. Kamala Harris of California dropped out of the Democratic presidential race Tuesday after months of slumping poll numbers, a dramatic comedown after her campaign began with significant promise.
The decision to drop out of the race comes after upheaval among staff and disarray among Harris’ own allies. She told supporters in an email Tuesday that she lacked the money needed to fully finance a competitive campaign.
“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” Harris wrote in the email.
The announcement is both dramatic and unexpected, perhaps the most sudden development to date in a Democratic presidential campaign where Harris began in the top tier.
She began her campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with comparisons to historic black politicians such as Barack Obama and Shirley Chisholm. Her speech that day in Oakland, California, had more than 20,000 people in attendance, giving credence to the idea that she could become the first woman of color elected president.
Harris had struggled financially in recent months as her online fundraising slowed and her large donors increasingly turned away from her campaign. In the third quarter of the year, she spent more than $1.41 for every dollar she raised, burning through millions of her treasury.
She stopped buying advertisements, both online and on television; slashed staff in New Hampshire; and retrenched to Iowa, where she spent the Thanksgiving holiday with her family.
But it was not enough, as the determination was made that she did not have enough financial resources to compete, even as a supportive super PAC began reserving ads Tuesday, the day she told people she was dropping out.