The California Senator's inflated appearance was bolstered by a powerful new support from the legendary United Farmworkers Union. Even so, many activist delegates and guests gathered in Long Beach this weekend to hear from eight presidential candidates concerned with their political future – and whether it might be time for them to withdraw from the race rather than a possible humiliation in it suspend home state primary.
After a spectacular campaign launch in January 22,000 in her hometown of Oakland, Harris – once praised as a top candidate – was bogged down in the low single-digit surveys. mess messaging and a messy team.
Harris & # 39; s loyal activist tribe calling himself K-Hive has lost none of the passion and intensity of those early days. They sang their names this weekend, waved the "Kamala Harris for the People" signs and expressed anger and disappointment over the growing media coverage of their political decline.
And early supporters such as Governor Gavin Newsom and Governor Eleni Kounalakis insisted that Harris remain a competitor whose fortunes are anything but determined in a volatile race.
But in the halls and meeting rooms of the Long Beach Convention Center, many of the battle-hardened Democratic insider strategists, elected officials, campaigners, saw their chances far more corrosive, suggesting that Harris & # 39; team did so Escape shot to the White House.
With surveys in California indicating strongly that she may not be winning, placing or even showing in her home state, many privately voiced the view that Harris should seriously consider leaving the race to total embarrassment in the state code in early March to avoid. Their continued weakness in the presidential contest could do even more damage, some said ̵
"I do not think she'll reach California," says Garry South, a seasoned strategist who advised Newsom and former presidential candidate Joe Lieberman. "I do not want her to get sick, but she has to make a decision: You limp here and get killed in your home state, and it damages your reputation nationally, or you retreat before the area code, like Jerry Brown 1980 … and you at least avoid the spectacle of being decisively rejected. "
Candidates have until the end of December to officially announce themselves in California on March 3, but some claim Harris can Pulling Iowa out of the presidential contest if she performs poorly there, leaving her on the Californian ballot, but allowing her to justify the acute embarrassment of a distant finish in California by leaving the race weeks ago.
A raid in California, "would be a sign of weakness … and might encourage a billionaire with vision," South said, perhaps one respected businessman – or even a wealthy activist like Tom Steyer, whose own presidential candidate is considered one longshot and who has played in the past with a run for the US Senate.
Interviews with a half-dozen seasoned Democratic campaigners at the congress who spoke on condition of anonymity – many out of fear of offending a seated senator – accorded with the view of South.
"It does not happen," said a leading grassroots organizer who works on the campaign floor and does not speak for attributions. "She has her chance [to leave the race] … she should seize her."
"Of course she should go out … but who will tell her?" Agreeed a leading Democratic strategist who refused to talk about the file. Harris told Californian insiders she was determined to stay in the race for Iowa, the strategist said. The biggest concern was reports from team members who seem to start attacking each other and blaming anonymously in various media.
The organizer of the work, Erin Lehane, said Harris, who has been successful in recent days with her passionate reaction to the mass shootings in Santa Clarita, has to go back to DC and say, "I will not leave until I have one have a comprehensive weapon. " Laws are reality … they should say that now that this happened in my home state, I will be here. "
Newsom made headlines about Harris & # 39; collapse and said he was on his way there I'm on my way to assess the situation – and I'm determined to help her.
"I'm going to Iowa, I'll check it first-hand," he said Say polls do not vote, people vote … and the only important poll is Election Day.
Reminds that these worn-out election campaign robes are mostly being accepted by defeated candidates, Newsom insisted strongly that the field being defeated remains fluid – but he also acknowledged the insecurity of Harris' path.
"Honestly … I'd not really feel like it's on the ground and in the dynamics," he said, "I live in a bubble with her because she's my girlfriend … and we ran around with all the volunteers and the [campaign] shirts, and we're feeling good, "he says, recalling that he recently appeared in a fundraiser for Harris and said," She was laid back, I thought she's great, she felt good. "
" She's too talented to get fired – she's too capable, "he said." While experts are overly focused on the race, voters are not as focused as we believe they are … so I see a lot of movement and potential. "
When she stood in the convention hall on Friday, she wore a The probation officer Denise Alvarez, a Southern California military veteran, said she was from media reports Do not be put off and wanted Harris to
"I like what she wants Alvarez said," She has the best plan … she cares about the people. "Alvarez dismissed the polls in key early states like Iowa and said she did have been blown out of proportions. "The [campaign volunteers] say it's going great. & # 39; & # 39;
Kounalakis, a passionate Harris supporter, also blamed the negative coverage of Harris's campaign.
"I do not think the press reports were very fair," she said. She has an incredible leader ship style. We love her. We support you. Presidential policy is tough, but tough enough to handle. "
She hopefully added," At least she'll be our senator for California a long time. "
David Doak, a Democratic veteran pollster who has chaired presidential campaigns for Richard Gephardt and Joe Biden, says Harris was weakened by missteps despite their talent and no effective rationale
"Presidential policy is a combination of how much people like you and what you say – in terms of viability," says Doak. "And their problem now is that there are likely to be a lot of people who thought she was a rocket – like me. "
In the polls, people who have no choice tend to associate with other people," he says. "It's a chicken and egg thing. .. if you are not viable, you will not get votes. "
Doak, who advised Senator Alan Cranston's unsuccessful 1984 presidential election, believes It's not that Harris is completely out of the picture – now or in the future.
"Is she a long shot now? Yes, says Doak. "I do not think staying in Iowa will hurt her, and frankly she'll be forced to quit if she's not feeling well in Iowa and New Hampshire."
But as for her future in the Senate, he said : "The stuff is pretty quickly forgotten."