Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, announced the end of her 2020 presidential bid. She said she didn’t have the funding to continue her campaign.
“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 statement. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”
Throughout her campaign, Harris was a vocal candidate on Native issues. She released a policy agenda for Indian Country out of a handful of Democratic candidates. Her plan included increasing tribal sovereignty, restoring tribal lands, improving health care, protecting Native women and children, increasing educational opportunities for Native students, supporting economic development, protecting voting rights and ensuring accurate counts of the census.
She promised to bring back the annual tribal nations conference to the White House when she spoke at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum. Harris gave remarks at the forum through a live video call.
“There is work we need to do and continue to do about not only restoring tribal land but also acknowledging historical trauma that has resulted of those many years of violence and frankly crimes that were committed,” Harris said at the August event in Sioux City, Iowa.
Harris received endorsements from tribal leaders around Indian Country including Chairman Mark Macarro of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Chairman Kenneth Kahn of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Mary Smith, Former Chief Executive of Indian Health Service and Cherokee Nation.
“I know that under a Harris administration, Indian Country will again be valued,” Macarro said in August. “Senator Harris has engaged California’s tribes in many roles, and her door was always open to us on a wide range of issues. We need a president that respects Native traditions and values -- one who gets tribal sovereignty, recognizes our history, and will look forward with us. Kamala Harris is that leader and will be that president.”
Other presidential candidates took to Twitter to offer their thoughts following the news of the end of the Harris campaign.
Harris was widely viewed as a candidate poised to excite the same segment of voters that sent Barack Obama to the White House. In California’s history, she was the first woman and the first Black attorney general and U.S. senator all at the same time.
But as the field grew, Harris’s fundraising remained flat; she was unable to attract the type of attention being showered on Pete Buttigieg by traditional donors or the grassroots firepower that drove tens of millions of dollars to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Harris suffered from what allies and critics viewed as an inconsistent message. Her campaign slogan “For the people,” referenced her career as a prosecutor. However, the campaign struggled to pitch to the party’s most progressive voters with her record.
Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Associated Press contributed to this report