Kamala Harris is ending her presidential bid and suspending her campaign, she announced Tuesday. In a statement, the Democratic senator from California explained she did not have enough funding to continue her run for the White House. Calling it “one of the hardest decisions of my life,” and one she had made over the last few days, Harris said her campaign “simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”
“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign,” she said. “And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.” She continued, “In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do. So, to you my supporters, it is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today.”
In a sign of how challenging the lack of funding had become, CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe, campaign reporter Tim Perry and CBSN political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns report aides said Tuesday that by the end of this week, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will have spent on advertising alone about twice what Harris had raised for her own bid since the beginning of the year. And in recent days, long-simmering turmoil between her team of professional consultants, mostly from California, and a faction represented by Harris’ sister, Maya Harris, about how the campaign should proceed had boiled over into news reports. Maya Harris, a Democratic activist who also worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has been at her sister’s side for the duration of the campaign, serving as a top adviser.
Harris had begun her campaign in a commanding position, with a crowd of about 20,000 showing up at her kickoff rally in Oakland in late January. Her campaign at its inception seemed to show the capacity for growth, and she was viewed as a top-tier candidate. When she confronted Joe Biden about his stance on federal busing in the first presidential debate, it boosted her candidacy. But within days, her own views on busing became somewhat muddled. Later, she struggled to articulate where she stood on health care and how she would pay for an overhaul of the health care system.
Harris, the third candidate in 48 hours to announce the end of her campaign, informed her staff Tuesday of her decision to suspend her campaign. After her statement, Harris posted a video of her statement on Twitter. Biden responded to the news of her departure from the race by calling her a “first-rate intellect,” a “first-rate candidate, and “a solid, solid person” who is “loaded with talent.” Julián Castro commended Harris and attacked some of the news outlets that recently reported stories that were critical of her campaign, noting “articles out of Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, that has basically trashed her campaign and focused on one small part of it, and I think held her to a different standard, a double standard has been grossly unfair and unfortunate.” Without Harris, Steve Bullock and Joe Sestak, the Democratic primary field now shrinks to 15 candidates.
In early November, Harris cut all of her field organizers in New Hampshire and shuttered her field offices there in order to focus her efforts in Iowa. At the time, she told CBS News she was “all in” on winning the Iowa caucuses and predicted she would “do very well” in the first contest of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Before the November debate, Harris had 131 staffers and 17 field offices in the state, and had spent 45 days in Iowa, and she had even spent Thanksgiving in Iowa with her family. Harris’ husband tweeted a note of support for his wife.
***CBS News campaign reporters Adam Brewster and Bo Erickson contributed to this report
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Booker released a plan Tuesday morning detailing a major investment in historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman says a Booker administration would invest $100 billion in HBCUs and MSIs and would put these institutions at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Booker’s plan would require at least a $40 billion investment from his $400 billion climate “Moonshot Hubs” to prioritize research and development.
Buttigieg released his health equity plan Tuesday morning. A major component of the plan is the launch of a National Health Equity Strategy Task Force. Turman says the plan indicates Buttigieg would start up this task force in the first 100 days of his administration. It would consist of officials from multiple federal agencies, community leaders and experts to “establish a roadmap for centering the lives of minorities in our health care system.”
The plan calls for a $5 billion investment over 10 years in health equity zones. The funds would be used by communities to help close health disparity gaps in their community. In his plan, Buttigieg sets goals to end the maternal mortality crisis, end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030 and address the diabetes epidemic.
Klobuchar addressed the news of the end of Harris’ presidential bid while campaigning in Milford, New Hampshire.
“She and I have gotten to be closer friends since this campaign started. We were good friends to begin with, because of the Kavanagh hearing and serving together, and sometimes campaigns have a way of tearing people apart or breaking down friendships,” Klobuchar said. “For us, it’s brought us closer. Our husbands – her husband, Doug and my husband John have also gotten to be good friends. But we know that this will endure, and she is an incredibly strong public servant and has done great work, already, for our country in the United States Senate, and I know she is going to do even more. So let’s have a hand for Kamala.”
CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga says Klobuchar told a few dozen audience members that her campaign is beginning to surge. “We are going up in the polls. I’m one of only, I guess with Kamala leaving the race, five candidates right now that is on the debate stage in California,” Klobuchar emphasized. “Five.”
The Minnesota lawmaker took a jab at the super wealthy candidates in the race, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, noting her campaign cannot compete with multi-million dollar ad buys.
“I have respect for them, but I want people to remember that, traditionally, Americans, especially the state of New Hampshire, have made decisions based on who they think would be the strongest candidate, not only for their state but for our country,” she said. “And it has tended not to always be the wealthiest candidate or the most well-known candidate, and I want you to remember when you see these ads that I cannot compete with a $31 million ad buy.”
Klobuchar recalled seeing several Bloomberg and Steyer ads on a recent campaign trip to New York.
“I was in the hotel room and I saw, I think, seven Bloomberg ads and two Steyer ads, and I thought, ‘This is all people are seeing HERE,’ because it is not one of the four early states. And I just think that puts even more of a good burden on the people of New Hampshire to make a good decision because you just shouldn’t be able to buy a victory. That is not how we have run our campaigns, and that’s not how our democracy runs.”
Sganga has confirmed Bernie Sanders’ Massachusetts state director Joe Caiazzo has parted ways with the Sanders campaign.
“Joe has been one of our first hires and was critical in building out our N.H. operation,” Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement. “We wish Joe nothing but the best in his next endeavor and thank him for playing such a critical role in the beginning of this campaign. Bernie Sanders is going to win New Hampshire and a lot of that credit will go to Joe Caiazzo.”
Caiazzo formerly worked as New Hampshire state director, but was moved to the Bay State in September. He served as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s campaign manager in 2018, as well as Rhode Island state director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid. The New England political veteran will continue work as a senior adviser to Joe Kennedy’s Senate campaign, a move announced just last month.
Out West with just 62 days until vote-by-mail begins in the California primaries, the Sanders campaign is touting its strength today in what it sees as “one of the first five states,” since California is now among the Super Tuesday states voting on March 3. The campaign told reporters on a call Tuesday – including CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin – that it has hired more than 80 staffers in the Golden State, more than in any other Super Tuesday contest, and plans to ramp up its footprint from five to 25 offices by the end of the year.
And the Vermont independent’s team hopes its candidate’s popularity among the state’s Latinos, as indicated in polls this year, will help them secure a lion’s share of the state’s nearly 500 delegates. “Now I’ve been organizing all my life in Latino communities, and I’ve never seen this level of excitement, energy and attention that Latinos are paying to a campaign. We know that in the 2020 cycle Bernie is the Latino candidate,” Návar told reporters.
Ten months after endorsing former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, South Carolina Rep. Marvin Pendarvis is throwing his support behind Joe Biden. In an interview with CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell this week, the 30-year-old state representative said that he’d always considered Biden to be one of the most “viable” candidates to take back the White House.
Pendarvis told Mitchell that one of the reasons he’d initially supported O’Rourke was because of the “energy” that he brought to his campaign. Asked about criticism that Biden doesn’t excite his supporters, Pendarvis countered that Democratic voters have to consider “what the best ticket would be” and that he didn’t want to “get caught up in personality politics.”
“What traditionally has been viewed as people who endorse Biden — could be argued — is substantially different from many of the views of some of the other, more progressive candidates that are in the race, particularly people who are my age,” said Pendarvis. He added, “There are people of this new generation that are willing to stand behind the vice president because not only do we recognize what he brings to the table from his leadership capabilities and his experience as vice president and many years in the Senate, but also we look at it…with Biden being on the ticket, there are many opportunities for us to have something that is able to capture the meat of what many Democratic voters will be looking for when they go to the polls in November 2020.”
With 15 candidates still vying to be the Democratic nominee, Pendarvis said the large field doesn’t say anything about Biden’s ability but instead speaks to the “beauty of the Democratic field.”
“It cannot be seen as an indictment on him that he hasn’t emerged as the sole frontrunner, if you will, because of the nature of the field. The field is so large where it would be difficult for anyone to really emerge like that so early but that’s not to say that he still isn’t the viable candidate or that the voters will not choose him when given the opportunity to,” said Pendarvis.
IN THE SENATE
Senator Johnny Isakson focused his farewell address on the floor in the Senate on Tuesday on the need for bipartisanship, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson. Isakson announced in August he would step down from the Senate at the end of the year because of health reasons.
In his farewell remarks, the Georgia Republican pointed to his friendship with Congressman John Lewis, of Georgia, as an example of what bipartisanship could look like. Last week, Lewis gave a speech on the House floor honoring Isakson, and afterwards, he and Lewis shared a long hug.
Fellow representatives reached out to thank them and said they hoped everyone in Georgia saw the photo. Isakson said, “We need to all be seen doing those things no one expects us to do.” He added in his remarks, “I see things happening that I am asked about by people that scare me, and I’ve heard some people I know say some things that terrify me. We are better than the hateful and vile statements that some people make. We need to talk not over them or under them, but we need to talk to them.”