Kamala Harris drops out of 2020 presidential race

Harris had been lagging in the polls and struggling to gain traction

California Sen. Kamala Harris, seen in Iowa this summer, is ending her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Sen. Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that she is suspending her presidential campaign, citing a lack of financial resources. 

“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris wrote in a letter to supporters Tuesday.  “It is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today.”

The first-term senator, who was elected to the chamber in 2016, could have made history as the first African-American female to win the nomination of a major party for president. 

Support for Harris in national polls peaked at 15 percent after her breakout debate performance in June, when she clashed with former Vice President Joe Biden on busing.

But it has been declining ever since, hitting a low of about 3 percent on Dec. 2, according to a Real Clear Politics average. That put her in sixth place, behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Harris’ campaign had recently laid off staffers. Internal turmoil dominated headlines, with advisers sniping at her campaign manager and an organization fractured between headquarters on two different coasts struggling to right the ship. 

Harris’ departure from the race leaves 15 Democrats — four of whom are women — seeking the nomination. 

The daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, Harris was the first African-American woman elected as San Francisco District Attorney and later California Attorney General. That 2010 race helped raise her national profile. Harris is only the second black woman to serve in the Senate. 

“Our campaign uniquely spoke to the experiences of Black women and people of color — and their importance to the success and future of this party,” Harris wrote in her letter to supporters.  

She had racked up the second-highest number of endorsements from Democratic members of Congress — 17 — and the most endorsements from members of the Black and Hispanic Caucuses thus far. 

Harris said she is “still very much in this fight,” but didn’t offer support for any other candidate. “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.”

Niels Lesniewski, Stephanie Akin and Bridget Bowman contributed to this report. 

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