by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Kamala Harris campaign gamble on Iowa as the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination nears the opening caucuses may not pay off, according to campaign strategists.
“I’m f–king moving to Iowa,” Harris, 54, was overheard telling a Senate colleague this month.
Though the former California attorney general was being at least partly facetious, she has promised to visit the first-in-the-nation state every week of October and will double the size of her Hawkeye State staff as she tries to overcome her summer slump before primary voters start caucusing on Feb. 3. The tactic represents a shift in emphasis for the mixed-background candidate, who has been trying to woo those in more diverse electorates like South Carolina.
Harris’ campaign itself would acknowledge it has “hit a rough spot” and needs to first, organize Iowans already in her camp and, secondly, build out an operation to expand support in a state that values retail politics, Democratic consultant Tara Dowdell told the Washington Examiner.
While Harris’ team has indicated a top-three finish would be ideal, Dowdell added it’s a necessity to avoid an exodus of donors the senator requires to fund her bid through the early-state and Super Tuesday contests, the latter of which is when voters in delegate-rich California go to the polls — though she’s struggling to find a foothold there too.
Harris averages 5% support both nationally and in Iowa, trailing far behind Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, who enjoy double-digit shares of the vote.