FILE PHOTO: Senator Kamala Harris speaks during the fourth U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris is trimming staff and restructuring her 2020 presidential campaign to focus more on the first nominating contest in Iowa, according to a campaign memo viewed by Reuters.
Harris will be “all-in on Iowa” and redeploy field staff from New Hampshire, Nevada and California there, while cutting staff at the campaign’s Baltimore headquarters, renegotiating contracts and reducing the salaries of her campaign manager and all consultants, according to the memo, which was first reported by Politico.
In a separate email to reporters on Wednesday, Harris’ campaign said that their focus on Iowa during the month of October, when she spent 15 days in the state, has resulted in an “organizing edge” heading into November.
The memo from Campaign Manager Juan Rodriguez to staff, supporters and other “interested parties,” said the restructuring will “bolster” those efforts in Iowa, where Harris will spend the Thanksgiving holiday campaigning. Iowa hosts its caucuses on Feb. 3.
“These decisions are difficult but will ensure the campaign is positioned to execute a robust Iowa ground game and a minimum 7-figure paid media campaign in the weeks leading up to the caucus,” said Rodriguez.
The campaign’s presence in South Carolina, which hosts the fourth nominating contest and which Harris has made central to her strategy, will not be affected, the memo said.
Rodriguez noted that past campaigns have underwent similar reorganizations and the candidate has gone on to be their party’s nominee, mentioning Democrat John Kerry in 2004 and Republican John McCain in 2008.
“However, in a field of 18 candidates, we face an incredibly competitive resource environment,” he wrote. “To effectively compete with the top campaigns and make the necessary investments in the critical final 100 days to the caucus, we need to reduce expenditures elsewhere and realign resources.”
Rodriguez noted that since Harris launched her campaign, she has raised more than $35 million and finished the last quarter with the fourth most cash on hand, ahead of some candidates who lead her in opinion polls, where she has struggled to break into the top tier.
Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jonathan Oatis