Sen. Kamala Harris‘ sudden exit from the 2020 presidential field on Tuesday surprised some of her fellow Democrats.
Despite qualifying for the December 19 Democratic debate, Harris, who was considered a frontrunner when she entered the primary, announced her departure from the race amid discouraging polling numbers and reports of financial struggle, infighting, and turmoil within her campaign team.
“I was very surprised by it,” Christine Pelosi, a Democratic strategist who is the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told Insider. “It was rather shocking when I got a text from someone — I thought, ‘That can’t be.'”
Pelosi said she thought Harris had enough grassroots support to hit 15% of the vote in the Iowa caucuses in February — the threshold necessary for candidates to earn delegates. She said Harris’ financial struggles were the definitive factor.
Harris was also facing a looming deadline in her home state of California, where the ballot is to be finalized later this month. A poor primary performance there could have had implications for her future in both the 2020 race and the Senate. Ian Russell, a Democratic congressional strategist, said the timing of Harris’ exit demonstrated “savvy.”