In that sense, it’s the perfect Democratic Senate campaign, no? The candidacy of Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, o replace Barbara Boxer seems like a shoo-in, to the point where campaign woes may be beside the point. However, said woes are looking problematic enough that they may actually introduce an element of risk at some point, The Hill reports, in large part because the candidate doesn’t possess sharp political instincts. Harris has replaced her campaign manager, but overspending and underfunding still threaten to derail her effort:
The California Attorney General — who has close ties to President Obama —remains the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and win election to the Senate, but the problems are leading to calls for additional changes.
Critics point to Harris’s own personality as the reason for some of the problems.
“She’s perceived as very, very difficult to work for,” one strategist familiar with the campaign told The Hill. “She doesn’t have real relationships and partnerships. She has acquaintances.”
Not just to work for, but work with — and maybe to work for as well. The same source complained that Harris feels entitled to other people’s money, and resents having to ask for it:
“Here she is, she’s running for Senate, as an African American woman, she should be raising gobs of money,” the source said. “The fact that she’s raising one and a half to 2 million a quarter, is absurd.
“She expects fundraisers who helped Obama to help her…She gets upset when donors don’t flock to her, it drives her crazy that she actually has to meet and talk with people,” the source added.
A Democrat who feels as though everyone owes her and believes she has a royal entitlement to support? Get outta town! In other related news, I think we found Hillary Clinton’s running mate.
The Sacramento Bee completes the picture by noting the campaign’s high burn rate and its increasing debt:
Harris, the favorite to replace U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer next year, is burning through campaign cash nearly as rapidly as she raises it. She is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on mail fundraising appeals, a large campaign staff anchored in Los Angeles and prominent fundraisers scattered across the country.
Over the past three months, Harris took in $1.8 million. In that period, from July to September, the state attorney general spent about $1.4 million, and amassed another $400,000 in debts. Meanwhile, she is on her third finance director since launching her bid in January.
Spending at this rate, “she could get herself into trouble,” said Jim Jonas, a Denver-based political strategist who previously worked with Republicans but now consults exclusively with independent candidates.
Republican political adviser Tim Clark offered what may be an epitaph for Harris’ campaign if she can’t straighten it out:
“Kamala Harris is going to learn, maybe the hard way, that she can’t spend enough in 2015 to win the race but she can spend enough in 2015 to lose the race.”
Her toughest challenge won’t be a Republican in this deep-blue state. Three GOP candidates are fighting over the crumbs, but thanks to the open-primary system now in place in California, it’s likely that the general election ballot will have two Democrats. Loretta Sanchez, who has served in Congress for nine terms, has taken the opposite approach — boosting her fundraising while keeping spending to a minimum. Sanchez may be a lot more donor-friendly than Harris, too, having had to adapt by running in what used to be a GOP stronghold in Orange County.
Keep an eye on the Senate race. Even if Republicans can’t find a way to compete, it might at least be entertaining … and might end up drawing off funds and energy that Democrats could use elsewhere.