By Danielle Wallace
Published November 16, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris, whose campaign cut staff in a dramatic restructuring last month, is now polling at just 3 percent, tying her with Michael Bloomberg for fifth place among the Democratic Party’s presidential nominees -- according to a poll released Friday -- even though Bloomberg hasn't even formally announced his 2020 candidacy.
And now Harris may be facing another problem: A second report Friday described internal strife at Harris’ Baltimore campaign headquarters, with several aides calling for campaign manager Juan Rodriguez’s resignation following his late October decision to lay off field staffers in several states and dedicate Harris' already dwindling campaign war chest to a seven-figure TV ad campaign before the February Iowa caucus.
Harris and Bloomberg were deadlocked in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Nov. 12-14. Though not yet a declared candidate, Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire business and media mogul, launched a massive $100 million digital ad campaign Friday targeting President Trump.
In the poll, both Harris and Bloomberg fell behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who polled at 6 percent, and Sen Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who polled at 13 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders led the Demicratic field tied at 19 percent support.
Rodriguez said in an Oct. 30 campaign memo obtained by Fox News that several dozen people would be laid off at the campaign's Baltimore headquarters -- as would volunteers in New Hampshire, Nevada, and California -- in an effort to go "all-in" in Iowa. He also said the campaign aimed to dedicate $1 million to a media campaign in the weeks before the Feb. 3 caucus, a figure now considered unlikely given Harris’ lackluster funding.
Three additional staff members were laid off and another quit in recent days at Harris’ campaign headquarters in Baltimore, unnamed aides told Politico on Friday. They said several aides have approached campaign chair Maya Harris, the candidate’s sister, to force Rodriguez to step down, claiming his failed leadership is responsible for the campaign’s recent troubles.
One official said Harris’ current campaign structure has “No discipline. No plan. No strategy.”
“It’s a campaign of id,” the official continued. “What feels right, what impulse you have right now, what emotion, what frustration.”
But others defended Rodriguez, saying he’s been loyal to Harris even before she first announced her candidacy in January. They pointed fingers at Maya Harris, who shared leadership responsibility with Rodriguez.
“From the outset of this race, he has had all the responsibility with none of the authority. He’s been managing this race with at least one, if not two, hands tied behind his back,” a senior campaign official told Politico of Rodriguez. “He would never undermine her. He’s just not that guy.”
The Politico report cited 12 individuals – who were either current or former campaign staffers or donors – who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Harris has been crisscrossing the country to try to salvage support. Her campaign has struggled to regain traction after an initial stand-out moment in the race during the first Democratic debate in June when she challenged Biden, a frontrunner, over comments he made about segregationist U.S. senators and school busing. Harris struggled in the second debate after Biden and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, challenged her record as California's attorney general. She struggled to shine in subsequent debates.