Kamala Harris drops out of 2020 presidential race

Kamala Harris is ending her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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The California senator told her staff on Tuesday that she is suspending her campaign, an unexpected twist in the Democratic primary, and later sent an email to supporters.

"My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue," she wrote in a Medium post. "I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete."

She was one of seven candidates to qualify for the sixth primary debate, which is set to take place in Los Angeles on Dec. 19.

Despite beginning the race as a serious contender for the Oval Office -- she regularly polled as a top-tier candidate -- her campaign has struggled to maintain its momentum, plummeting in the polls amid reports of turmoil among campaign staff, insufficient campaign funds and the lack of a clear strategy.

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Harris has struggled financially in recent months, burning more cash than fundraised from donors in the third quarter, a warning sign as campaigns tried to stockpile cash ahead of the looming caucuses and primaries. Harris raised $11.7 million in individual contributions, but spent $14.6 million, ending September with $10.5 million on hand.

She stopped buying both online and television advertisements and slashed staff in New Hampshire, instead of honing in on Iowa.

One of the high points of Harris' campaign came during the first Democratic debate, when she landed a stinging blow against former Vice President Joe Biden, confronting him about his history with segregation, including his opposition to busing and his work with lawmakers who were staunch opponents of desegregation. The exchange went viral, highlighting weaknesses in Biden's campaign and catapulting her in the polls.

“She is a first-rate intellect. First-rate candidate," Biden said on Tuesday. "It’s a real competitor. I have mixed emotions about it because she is really a solid, solid person. And loaded with talent. But I’m sure she’s not dropping out on wanting to make the changes she cares about."

But in the months since then, her star has dimmed: At the next debate, Harris faced criticism when she said she supported a single-payer health care system -- then backtracked the next day.

She’s the third candidate to drop out of the race this week.

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