Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has struggled to rise above the middle of the crowded field of candidates vying for the Democrats’ 2020 nomination.
Now, a top staffer for Harris’ campaign has resigned — and her resignation letter has some pointing fingers and placing blame for the campaign’s failures, The Hill reports.
“The final straw”
In her resignation letter, which was first obtained by The New York Times, former Harris campaign state operations director Kelly Mehlenbacher lamented that she’d never seen a campaign “treat its staff so poorly.”
“This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” she wrote. “While I still believe that Senator Harris is the strongest candidate to win in the General Election in 2020, I no longer have confidence in our campaign or its leadership,” she added, noting that “the treatment of our staff over the last two weeks was the final straw in this very difficult decision.”
Mehlenbacher seemed to take exception to the campaign’s decision to force staffers to move and redeploy from Washington, D.C. to Maryland or Iowa, only to then lay them off “without thoughtful consideration of the personal consequences” or how the remaining campaign staffers might react. She went on:
It is unacceptable that we would lay off anyone that we hired only weeks earlier. It is unacceptable that with less than 90 days until Iowa we still do not have a real plan to win.
She added that the campaign is “made up of diverse talent which is being squandered by indecision and a ‘lack of leaders who will lead,'” according to The Hill.
“There needs to be a change”
Mehlenbacher wasn’t the first or only person to call out Harris’ campaign. The Times reported that Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who has endorsed and supported Harris, has pointed an accusatory finger at campaign manager Juan Rodriguez and demanded his firing.
“I have told [Harris] there needs to be a change,” the congresswoman said. “The weakness is at the top. And it’s clearly Juan. He needs to take responsibility — that’s where the buck stops.”
In his own defense, Rodriguez told the Times that the Harris campaign is focused on winning the nomination to take on President Donald Trump and “end the national nightmare that is his presidency.”
“Just like every campaign, we have made tough decisions to have the resources we need to place in Iowa and springboard into the rest of the primary calendar,” he said. For her part, Harris declined to be interviewed by the Times and her campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Hill.
As noted, Harris’ campaign has really struggled to live up to its billing and has seemingly placed all of its eggs in one basket — Iowa — at the expense of other early primary states.
Still, Harris has little shot at winning in Iowa — or anywhere else for that matter — and it’s likely only a matter of time before the rest of her campaign staffers are laid off when she inevitably drops out of the race.