In an email message to her supporters, Ms Harris said her campaign lacked the financial wherewithal to continue.
“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 wrote. “In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do.”
Her campaign was being dragged down by stagnant fundraising efforts — contribution levels that barely budged over the year — and allegations that her political operation lacked discipline and strategy.
The disarray inside Ms Harris’ campaign was laid excruciatingly bare in a resignation letter from Kelly Mehlenbacher, the outgoing state operations director, who complained that staffers were being treated appallingly and top officials provided little direction on policy and lacked a viable plan to win the election.
“This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organisation treat its staff so poorly,” Ms Mehlenbacher wrote in the November 11 letter obtained by the New York Times.
Ms Mehlenbacher, who landed with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 campaign, said the final straw came when dozens of aides at Ms Harris’ Baltimore headquarters were laid off.
“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 wrote.
The 55-year-old, who was recently overtaken in the polls by Bloomberg, also cancelled a high-profile fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday at a law firm in New York City, CNBCreported.