After issuing only a small staff hiring announcement on Labor Day — before reporters were slated to discover she had a campaign team for the first time — Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris said her team is growing.
Instead, her campaign is shrinking.
In the past couple of weeks, Harris’ office in Chicago has drastically cut staff there, confirming an earlier report by the Chicago Tribune.
According to a copy of the resume provided by a campaign official, several positions have been eliminated, including campaign managers and a director of grassroots engagement in the city. The official declined to elaborate on the news, which had previously been reported by other news outlets.
The campaign had six people in the Chicago office just a few weeks ago. Some of them were working for Harris’ team on the campaign trail. Now, it appears, only two campaign staffers are working in Chicago.
Nearly two dozen other campaign positions were also eliminated across the country.
At a staff meeting held Wednesday night, Harris’ campaign manager, Willie Brown, told employees their options were a severance package or being let go, the official said. Some staffers who are taking buyouts will remain on staff for as little as four months, while others will be fired.
Though Brown did not give a time frame for the dismissals, he did tell employees the cuts were “based on numbers,” an aide said. Campaign officials did not respond to requests for comment.
“The changes reflect the realities of this moment, a real down cycle for the Democratic Party and the fact that we have two extraordinarily strong candidates with different styles and different messages. And there is only room for one of us to win the nomination,” Brown said in the meeting, according to an aide.
The dramatic payroll reduction comes as Harris’ campaign has been speaking more publicly about her candidacy, with the senator’s campaign manager and spokesman making more appearances in the media and appearances in New Hampshire.
Harris, the junior senator from California, has already raised more than $7 million and expects to bring in nearly $100 million during the primary, according to officials.
She has not yet taken on a chief strategist or pollster, but has tapped pollster Silky Shah, who worked on President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Even without leading a well-funded campaign operation, Harris has not been shy about competing. While New Hampshire and Iowa officials were visiting Washington to do a pitch for an economic package aimed at boosting small businesses, Harris was also on the front lines in the nation’s capital.
In the span of a few days, the senator was at a youth entrepreneurship summit at the White House. Next, she made her first campaign swing through Iowa. She has since spent several days on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.