Sen. Kamala Harris drops out of the 2020 race

Sena. Kamala Harris answers questions during a town hall-style campaign event at the Iowa Memorial Union. Wednesday, April 10, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Sen. Kamala Harris announced on Tuesday afternoon she is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.

“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,” the California Democrat said in a statement about suspending her campaign, posted on Medium.

The announcement was as a surprise. Only 18 hours earlier, the Harris campaign was announcing new endorsements of the candidate, including one from Johnson County Supervisor Janelle Rettig.

Harris was considered a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination as soon as she declared her candidacy in January. More than 20,000 people attended her campaign kickoff speech in Oakland.

Approximately 900 people attended her first Iowa City campaign event at the IMU in April.

“Kamala is a trailblazer, serving as the second African-American woman in history to be elected to the United States Senate,” Johnson County Supervisor Royceann PorterPorter said, introducing Harris at the IMU event. “And the first — I say, the first — African-American and the first woman to serve as attorney general of the state of California.”

Despite the initial enthusiasm for Harris, she never broke out of single digits in the Iowa Poll. In recent months, support for Harris in the early voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — had declined.

In September, Harris cut back on her campaigning in other states to focus on Iowa, in hopes of finishing in the top three in February’s presidential caucus.

At the time, Harris was overheard telling a Senate colleague, “I’m fucking moving to Iowa.”

Harris did step up her campaigning in the state. She even celebrated Thanksgiving with her family in Des Moines, instead of returning to California for the holiday.

Harris said her decision to withdraw was the result of fundraising problems.

My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.

I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.

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.

In her statement on Tuesday, Harris said she was “grateful to the thousands of volunteers and contributors who chipped in, who knocked on doors, who made calls and who put their faith and trust in me.”

Democratic Senator of California Kamala Harris takes the stage at an early voting rally at Old Brick in Iowa City. Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Harris is in her first term in the Senate. She was elected in 2016, and will not be up for reelection until 2022. In her statement, she did not make any statements about her future beyond the 2020 campaign, or endorse any of the other candidates.


Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village


“But I want to be clear with you: I am still very much in this fight,” Harris said.

She concluded her statement by saying, “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.”

With Harris’ withdrawal, the number of Democrats seeking their party’s nomination drops to 15.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Iowa City Book Festival

Oct. 18-24

A celebration of books, writing and ideas

Find Out More


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.