Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) campaign, the presidential hopeful just got more bad press. Harris, whose floundering push for the nomination has been on a downward slide for months, is apparently not a great boss, according to a former staffer who recently resigned.
Upon leaving Harris’ campaign, the official wrote a harshly-worded resignation letter detailing the general ineptitude of the organization’s leadership and its treatment of the staff. On its surface, the letter appears to be bitter venting from a disgruntled employee – but is there more at play here?
Kelly Mehlenbacher, the former state operations director for Harris’ campaign, sent a resignation letter to the senator explaining the reasons for her departure earlier in November. She, along with several other staffers, left the campaign at the same time. The New York Times obtained a copy of the letter and published the content in a recent article explaining why her campaign is unraveling.
Mehlenbacher complained about the treatment of campaign staff, claiming that she had “never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” despite having worked on three presidential campaigns. “While I still believe that Senator Harris is the strongest candidate to win the General Election in 2020, I no longer have confidence in our campaign or its leadership,” she wrote. The former staffer went on to criticize the organization’s lack of consideration for members of the staff:
“It is not acceptable to me that we encouraged people to move from Washington, DC to Baltimore only to lay them off with no notice, with no plan for the campaign, and without thoughtful consideration of the personal consequences to them or the consequences that their absence would have on the remaining staff.”
Those were not the only complaints, however. Mehlenbacher also stated that the campaign lacked a clear vision for securing the nomination. “It is unacceptable that with less than 90 days until Iowa, we still do not have a real plan to win.” She blamed the campaign’s ineptitude on a “lack of leaders who will lead.”
Judging by the inertia in Harris’ poll numbers, it’s hard to argue with Mehlenbacher’s viewpoint on the matter, but is there another reason why she chose to step down?
Genuine Concerns or Political Maneuvering?
It is no surprise that a staffer would quit a campaign like Sen. Harris’ if her claims about the organization are valid. However, Mehlenbacher may have had other motivations behind her public departure. Almost immediately after leaving Harris’ employ, Mehlenbacher began working for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bid for the nomination, according to The New York Post.
It is not clear how The New York Times acquired a copy of the resignation letter but it is possible that the paper may have obtained it from Mehlenbacher herself. Obviously, there is no way to know for sure, but could it be that she wanted the letter to be made public to remove an obstacle to Bloomberg securing the nomination? Perhaps it was meant to be yet another piece of embarrassing information that would finally sink Harris’ chances of winning. Either way, it is clear that the senator’s time on the campaign trail might be coming to an end.
Read more from Jeff Charles.