NATIONWIDE — California Senator Kamala Harris announced Tuesday she has dropped out of the 2020 presidential race.
Despite a strong launch to her campaign and a breakout performance in the first debate, the Northern California senator had failed to find traction in the polls.
“To my supporters, it is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today,” Harris said in a tweet. “But I want to be clear with you: I will keep fighting every day for what this campaign has been about. Justice for the People. All the people.”
Harris had been considered an early frontrunner and earned praise for taking on Joe Biden on the issue of busing back in the June debate. But while some praised her well-orchestrated, prosecutorial attack on the former Vice President, it’s unclear whether it helped her standing with voters.
“I’ve taken stock, and I’ve looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days, I have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris said in a video announcement.
As more progressive candidates in the field like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders saw their poll numbers rise, Harris struggled to find traction with more moderate voters attracted by the likes of Biden and ascendant South Bend, Ind. Mayor, Pete Buttigieg.
Harris’ niece and husband shared their support for the candidate on social media.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also tweeted his support for the senator.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, another supporter who had been expected to campaign with Harris in Iowa this month, also tweeted his support.
Harris’ decision means that despite having qualified for the debate on December 19 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, she will not be taking part.
The senator had again been praised for her performance in the most recent Democratic debate in Ohio, during which she confronted fellow candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s for her appearances on Fox News, criticizing then-President Barack Obama. But yet again, Harris’ strong debate performance failed to translate into improved poll numbers.
In a recent Quinnipiac poll, Harris was polling at just 3 percent nationally — roughly even with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who had just entered the race —and Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar.
Harris is not the first early favorite in the race to see their campaign fizzle out unexpectedly. Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke, another candidate who’d failed to turn a strong launch into a viable long-term campaign, ended his bid for the nomination last month.
Like O’Rourke, Harris explained her decision to drop out in a post on Medium.
In the post, Harris praised campaign staff, saying “I am extremely grateful to the hundreds of staff who moved and uprooted their lives and sacrificed time away from their families. I know our fight has been personal for each of them.”
In recent days, Harris’ campaign had been dogged by criticisms from an ex-staffer who issued a scathing statement regarding the way the campaign had been conducted.
The Senator also singled out her husband and family for their support during the campaign.
“Of course, I could not have done this without my husband Doug and my entire family and friends who gave up so much to embark on this journey with me and have supported me every step of the way,” Harris wrote.
Despite ending her campaign, Harris also indicated she would continue to lend her support to the Democratic efforts to take the White House in 2020.
“And I want to be clear: although I am no longer running for President, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump and fight for the future of our country and the best of who we are,” Harris wrote.
Harris is the second Democratic candidate to drop out of the race this week with Montana Governor Steve Bullock also having ended his campaign.