Senator Kamala Harris
Heidi Gutman/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images
Sen. Kamala Harris’ debate performance on Thursday failed to impress lots of her party’s big money donors that had been on the fence about her candidacy.
Going into the Democratic primary debate in Houston, Harris’s closest supporters privately confessed that if she didn’t come out swinging against her opponents and clearly define her policies, wealthy donors might shy away from her effort.
Many of them were hoping for a repeat of the aggressive tactics she used at the first argument, when she took on former Vice President Joe Biden for his willingness to work with segregationists as a senator at the 1970s.
These sources say these uncommitted contributors are still not convinced they could dedicate their grand networks for her origin alone.
Harris has relied on contributors willing to give around $2,800 (the maximum amount allowable by law) so as to fund her presidential run.
Since the beginning of her campaign in January, Harris has raised over $14 million from large individual contributors, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That total equals 56percent of her $24 million haul. She finished raising almost $12 million in the second quarter.
At least 45 percentage of Harris’ donations have hailed by the Golden State.
While a spokesperson for the campaign didn’t return a request for comment, Harris sent a mass email Friday afternoon, stating her minutes on the discussion stage “won over a lot of new supporters in this fight ” and their company is “focusing our resources on capturing last night’s momentum.”
One source close to a political fundraising powerhouse in California, Harris’ home state and a region where she is dominated in the fundraising game, said Friday that they had been having trouble convincing their donors to back her candidacy prior to the debate. The negative opinion did not change following the debate.
“I don’t think anything has changed and it’s been grim,” this person said. On the discussion stage, this individual noted that donors think Harris remains “unclear about her message and strategy.” They enjoyed the “Trump focus,” this individual said, “but there was too much odd laughter and canned lines.”
This person added that many of the donors either need to assist former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Harris opened the third argument talking directly to President Donald Trump and suggested he would have been indicted if the Department of Justice guidelines were distinct.
“The only reason you were not indicted is because there was a memo in the Department of Justice that says a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime,” she explained.
However, a New York banking executive which privately called on her to prove she is the best alternative to Biden said on Friday that she did not standout against the other contenders and played it too safe.
“You need to get into these debates and score some points or there is not going to be any money for her,” this person explained. “She didn’t score any points.”
Another bundler in Los Angeles, that has contributed to her campaign but has yet to open his network to the California lawmaker, felt like Harris does not have any leadership for a candidate. “She’s now tacked back and self corrected,” this contributor stated. “Now it looks like she’s been schooled and directionless.”
Harris is preparing to participate in fundraising tour that begins in Houston and will complete on the West Coast. Her loyal financial supporters do not appear to be moving anywhere in the wake of the debate, although some of the colleagues are currently not eager to jump on her bandwagon.
“Harris is crushing it,” stated a rich New York donor who’s helping her effort but helped raise millions for Obama and Hillary Clinton.