by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Things are looking bleak for the Kamala Harris campaign. On Wednesday, Politico reported that “Harris is dramatically restructuring her campaign by redeploying staffers to Iowa and laying off dozens of aides at her Baltimore headquarters, . . . as she struggles to resuscitate her beleaguered presidential bid.”
Harris announced she was “moving” to Iowa back in September, but the California senator is now in a dead heat for fifth place in the state, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. At 2.7 percent, she’s tied with Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang, and just a hair ahead of Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is sitting at 2.3 percent. …
… There are past examples of low-polling candidates surging in the closing days before Iowa to make an impressive showing — Rick Santorum, for instance, was polling below 5 percent nationally and in Iowa a month before caucus day, and went on to carry the state’s Republican contest. But the Democratic debate rules could effectively foreclose that opportunity for candidates such as Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar and New Jersey senator Cory Booker, neither of whom have yet hit the threshold for the December Democratic debate in a single poll. …
… Harris and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg are in slightly better shape. They have the necessary number of donors, and both are just one poll away from qualifying for the December debate. If Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg spend the next six weeks beating one other up, that could give Harris the opportunity to get a second look from Democratic voters at just the right time.
Even if Harris makes it onto the debate stage one more time, though, it remains to be seen whether she’ll have anything to say.