Harris’ standing in the race, after rocketing up in the polls, has fallen in recent months, as the senator struggles to recapture the momentum that she gained during the first Democratic debate in June. Harris’ campaign has also been beset by internal issues, with sources telling CNN earlier on Tuesday that the senator was reshaping the senior staff on her campaign in a bid to streamline an operation that one source said has been bogged down by bureaucratic hurdles.
Even still, Harris’ fundraising has been notably consistent throughout her presidential run. The candidate raised $12 million in the first quarter and $11.8 million in the second quarter.
The haul puts Harris below some of the race’s top fundraisers, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who announced he raised over $25 million on Tuesday, or South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who announced he had raised over $19 million in the third quarter. But it puts the California Democrat far ahead of candidates like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who also announced on Tuesday he had raised $6 million in the third quarter.
“This is a campaign that is growing, expanding, and built to win this primary,” Juan Rodriguez, Harris campaign manager, said in a statement. “As we have spent the summer months strengthening our infrastructure, we enter this final stretch of 2019 with ample resources to execute a winning game plan.”
A Harris adviser familiar with the fundraising said that the third quarter was a “challenge” for the campaign because of “low poll numbers and bad press.”
“We didn’t have any headline boosts. This was our biggest challenge and that’s why $11.6 (million) is good news for us,” the adviser said. “In fact, given the headwinds, we’re very excited about the money. If Kamala earned $8 or even $10 million, there would be questions. This will keep us going in those early states and she can pay for the expansion in Iowa.”
Harris, according to the campaign, enters the fourth quarter with $10 million in the bank, money that Rodriguez and others said will be spent on increasing organizers in early and super Tuesday states.
“With hundreds of organizers and staff in the early states and Super Tuesday California, we are ready to harness the energy of our thousands of grassroots volunteers to phone bank, knock doors and turn out the vote for Kamala in these 2020 contests,” Rodriguez said.
Harris, like other Democrats, spent considerable time on the fundraising circuit during the third quarter, a three-month period that is notoriously more difficult to raise money in than other times of the year. Harris headlined finance events across the country, including regular fundraisers in her home state of California.
Harris, asked about her fundraising effort days before the end of the quarter, told reporters that campaign finance reform is critical “because the bottom line is that running for president should not require that the candidate spend so much time fundraising when there are people that need to be heard and talked with.”
“This is not a fundraiser, this is about being in my hometown, being with the people in my community and talking about the issues that impact them and the issues that wake them up in the middle of the night,” Harris said during an event in Oakland.
Recent polls have captured Harris’ decline. A CNN survey in South Carolina released in late September found Harris at 3% in a state that was once seen as central to her possible victory. A similar result was discovered in Nevada, where a CNN survey found Harris at 5% in her neighbor state.
Nationally, too, Harris has been on the decline. A Quinnipiac University poll released in mid-September found Harris at 3% nationally, trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg.