Kamala Harris Dropped Out. What’s Next?

ImageKamala Harris Campaign HQs in Oakland was a pretty lonely place on the day she dropped her bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Good morning.

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Well, that’s it.

Senator Kamala Harris — whose campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination kicked off with a rally in Oakland on Martin Luther King Jr. Day attended by thousands, who impressed voters when she took on Joe Biden in the June debateis dropping out of the race.

She made the announcement just days after my colleagues published an extensive report in which her staffers described the senator’s campaign as flailing financially and plagued by infighting.

“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,” Ms. Harris wrote in a Medium post. “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.”

[Read the full story about Ms. Harris’s announcement.]

That first part, many observed, seemed to be a jab in part at the billionaires in the race like Tom Steyer, a fellow Californian who is funneling lots of his own money into his campaign.

As of Tuesday, Mr. Steyer was the only resident of the Golden State who is set to appear in this month’s presidential debate in California — at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, to be precise.

Ms. Harris had already qualified for the debate. So far, she was the only person of color to do so in a field that has been touted as the most diverse ever. (Although, as my colleague Jennifer Medina reported, the symbolism of barrier-breaking campaigns hasn’t been much of a propellant for candidates like Ms. Harris and Julián Castro, who would be the first Latino nominee.)

[Who’s in and who’s out of the debates?]

The timing of Ms. Harris’s announcement had to have been a bit awkward for Gov. Gavin Newsom, who, on Monday afternoon tweeted that he was looking forward to joining his state’s junior senator “out on the trail.”

Going forward, his endorsement is up for grabs, as are those of other California leaders who had already thrown their support behind Ms. Harris, and those who haven’t yet endorsed.

As CalMatters reported, Ms. Harris was also raising money well in her home state.

On a press call about Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign efforts in California on Tuesday, Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser for the senator, said that it’s “no secret that Senator Harris had substantial support,” among elected officials in her home state. And Mr. Sanders’s campaign planned to reach out to those officials.

Still, Mr. Weaver said, “We’re going to play our own game.”

[Read a profile of Ms. Harris and her work as a prosecutor.]

As for what’s next for our senator: Ms. Harris’s term extends until 2023. But as my colleague Adam Nagourney noted on Twitter, she’s now free to be tapped for vice president.

However, some readers said they look forward to Ms. Harris doing her current job.

“I hope she can focus on being our senator and not be off campaigning now to be vice president,” wrote Bob Gefvert, of Sonoma County.

Kathy Lollock, of Santa Rosa, wrote that she’s proud of her senator and glad she’ll be back: “She may not be ready for prime time in 2020, but she is a force to be reckoned with.”

In an opinion piece for The Times, the author and historian Miriam Pawel made the case that, ultimately, Ms. Harris’s trajectory embodies many of the paradoxes and complexities embedded in California politics.


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  • The House Intelligence Committee, led by Representative Adam Schiff, released a report on Tuesday that concluded President Trump tried to “use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.” [The New York Times]

  • A lawsuit against the city of Boise over its rules prohibiting homeless people from camping on public property has played out over a decade. The results have had implications for cities across the West. Now, whether to keep fighting has become a central issue in Boise’s mayoral race. [The New York Times]

  • A damning report said that Pacific Gas & Electric repeatedly failed to maintain a power line built almost a century ago that in 2018 caused California’s deadliest wildfire. The report poses a big hurdle in the utility’s path out of bankruptcy. [The New York Times]

  • See how the world’s most polluted air compares with your region’s. (It was bad in the Bay Area, for instance, when the smoke from the Camp fire blanketed the area, but it still pales in comparison to a recent crisis in New Delhi.) [The New York Times]

  • Restrictions on natural gas in new buildings are set to take effect in about a dozen municipalities across Northern California. They’ve ignited a debate between environmentalists and industries like restaurants that say such bans will be expensive and bad for business. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded Google more than 20 years ago when they were Stanford grad students, are stepping down from their executive roles at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. That leaves Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, in charge of both. The change ends an era of Silicon Valley. [The New York Times]

  • Are you a Facebook employee worried that your parents will accuse your employer of destroying democracy? There’s a “Liam Bot” for that. [The New York Times]

  • Elon Musk took the stand in L.A. on Tuesday to defend himself against a defamation lawsuit in which a British cave explorer, Vernon Unsworth, claimed that Mr. Musk was using his platform to damage Mr. Unsworth’s reputation when he called the explorer, who had tried to rescue trapped children in Thailand, a “pedo guy.” [The New York Times]

  • The former head of the Oakland Coliseum Authority is facing criminal charges for allegedly seeking a fee for helping negotiate a stadium naming rights deal in violation of conflict of interest laws. [The Mercury News]

  • The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is home to some of the nation’s oldest Chinatowns. Mei Wah, a tap room, is breathing new life into one of them. [The East Bay Times]

  • Prubechu, which was San Francisco’s only Guamanian restaurant when it first opened in 2014, has been reborn in a larger space and with a family-style feast on the menu. [Eater San Francisco]

  • It’s pozole season. Here are some of the best places to find it. [L.A. Taco]


Even in our era of incessant news, Tuesday felt like a lot, didn’t it?

So, here’s a story, with rather soothing photos, about the modern life of origami, a Japanese art form as old as the paper used to make it. Today, you can use computers to help map crease patterns. NASA engineers have used its principles to make foldable telescopes.

And there are dozens of community origami groups in the U.S., including many in California, natch.


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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