Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race after plummeting from top tier of Democratic candidates

Sen. Kamala Harris is ending her presidential campaign.

Harris, D-Calif., informed her staff Tuesday that she is suspending her campaign, an aide told CNBC.

Earlier Tuesday, CNBC reported that Harris canceled a fundraising event in New York amid reports of turmoil within her campaign.

Harris, 55, was the only black candidate whose polling numbers and national media attention had placed her in the top tier of the 2020 contest, if only for a short while.

She made waves with her announcement in January, nailing a campaign rollout that earned praise from Democrats – and even a compliment from President Donald Trump.

“I would say, the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris,” Trump said at the time.

In the months following her positive first impression, Harris and her campaign showed the makings of a contender who might be in it for the long haul.

She landed perhaps the hardest and clearest punch of the early primary debate cycle, when she tore into the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, over his comments about working with segregationist lawmakers and his past views on busing.

The attack gave her a spotlight on that stage, as well as a clear bump in the polls and a hefty fundraising boost.

But her rise in popularity appeared to evaporate soon after, and her performance in the second debate was widely viewed as subpar. Harris’ fundraising numbers consistently trailed her leading competitors, and some of her donors reportedly considered dropping her if she failed to impress going forward.

She also faced criticism on her policy platform. In her breakout first debate performance in June, Harris had raised her hand when a moderator asked which of the candidates supported abolishing private insurance in favor of a government-run single-payer alternative.

A day later, she appeared to reverse herself, saying a Harris administration would preserve supplemental private insurance.

As the Iowa caucuses neared, Harris’ campaign further suffered from a lack of a clear strategy and a fractured and disgruntled campaign staff, according to multiple media reports.

By the end of November, the RealClearPolitics aggregate of candidate polls showed Harris sliding into the low single digits, while the nearest candidate above her, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, appeared to be surging higher


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