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Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race after plummeting in polls, losing major staffers

She was once considered a frontrunner

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) dropped out of the 2020 presidential race Tuesday, ending a campaign that started with her as a frontrunner and concluded with her polling at 2 percent.

News of Harris' exit was reported by Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic. Harris had been the subject of damning media reports about the chaos within her campaign and inability to fundraise effectively.

Her campaign kicked off with a 22,000-person rally in Oakland, and she raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours after announcing in January. She was seen as a top candidate: A high-profile senator, a minority, a woman, a tough prosecutor who could stand up to President Donald Trump.

She stumbled out of the gate, however, by flip-flopping on health care—apparently unable to decide whether or not she supported Medicare for All, and whether or not she would eliminate private insurance as president altogether.

Then, she struggled to reconcile her record as a harsh and aggressive prosecutor in California with current Democratic policies that are much more lenient toward nonviolent crime.

She later tried to define herself by jumping left of everyone on guns, saying she would use executive action to implement her desired gun control policy unless Congress passed what she wanted within 100 days.

Her campaign peaked in the summer after the first debate when she successfully attacked former vice president Joe Biden for his previous stance against federally-mandated busing to desegregate schools.

Kamala Harris attacks Joe Biden's record on race in Democratic debate www.youtube.com

She failed to generate any viral moments after that, underwhelming in subsequent debates and generally failing to make an affirmative, definable case as to why she was running for president beyond her being the one to "prosecute the case against Donald Trump," as she liked to say. She was notably hit by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) in the July debate, and the attack appeared to have an effect.

Tulsi Gabbard rips Kamala Harris' record on criminal prosecutions www.youtube.com

By October she was laying off staff in significant numbers and redeploying all her efforts toward winning Iowa. By early November, it was clear from polling that even that effort was failing.

Last week, a top staffer on her campaign resigned with a "blistering" resignation letter blasting the campaign for treating staff so poorly. The staffer, Kelly Mehlenbacher, was quickly hired by Michael Bloomberg's campaign as deputy COO.

One last thing…
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