2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ once-burgeoning campaign has recently found itself in hot financial waters and has been forced to make some personnel adjustments.
Despite her breakout performance in the first debate, Harris has not been able to maintain upward momentum. She has fallen to the back of a very crowded field, with the latest Real Clear Politics average placing her at an abysmal 4.9% support.
Campaign manager Juan Rodriguez noted some of the drastic changes that Harris is making just to keep herself afloat. According to a memo sent to Politico, she has fired dozens of staffers in her Baltimore headquarters and has redeployed many others to Iowa, where she is mounting a desperate bid for the swing state. The candidate will also be cutting positions in New Hampshire, Nevada and California, Harris’ home state.
Staffing and payroll taxes accounted for the majority of Harris’ campaign budget, coming in at a whopping $3.8 million, which could explain her need to pare down her paid help. Rodriguez himself will be receiving a pay cut, having made $10,000 a month in the third quarter. Harris’ campaign consultants will also see their payments slashed as the campaign attempts to renegotiate contracts to better reflect the state of donations.
Not only will these efforts help Kamala stay in the game, but they will also help the candidate fund a seven-figure ad buy ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
Rodriguez also mentioned the “incredibly competitive resource environment” the Democrats are facing with so many candidates in the race, and few dropping out. Perhaps this is why on September 30th, Harris had raised $11.8 million but had spent $14.6 million, which quickly dropped her campaign into the red.
In the memo, the campaign manager also seemed to throw shade at fellow 2020 hopefuls who have “deployed gimmicks” in order to increase funding and stay in the race.
“From the beginning of this campaign, Kamala Harris and this team set out with one goal — to win the nomination and defeat Donald Trump in 2020. This requires us to make difficult strategic decisions and make clear priorities, not threaten to drop out or deploy gimmicks. Plenty of winning primary campaigns, like John Kerry’s in 2004 and John McCain’s in 2008, have had to make tough choices on their way to the nomination, and this is no different.”
Former deputy national finance director of Obama’s 2008 campaign Ami Copeland noted that things are looking grim for the Harris campaign, implying that she should be able to raise more money than she has been able to.
“It’s an unsustainable path,” he stated. “If that’s the best you’ll squeeze out bringing all of the assets to bear, it’s looking very dire.”
Even her own aides are lamenting what they view as “crisis-driven strategy shifts” that have repeatedly shaken up the campaign at a time where funding, staffing, and polling should be more stable.
It is unclear whether Harris’ recent behavior (calling for the president to be banned from Twitter, refusing to go to a criminal justice forum because Trump was awarded a medal, going after Don Jr., etc.,) is an attempt to receive free media attention as a way to garner voters and donations. If that is the case, her dismal RCP average indicates that she needs to reconsider her strategy.
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