The letter came after the once promising Kamala Harris’ campaign announced last-minute layoffs of staff in early November amid her decline in the polls, according to the New York Times.
“This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” wrote Kelly Mehlenbacher in the November 11 letter obtained by the New York Times.
Mehlenbacher clarified she still supported Harris as a candidate, but did not have confidence in the campaign's leadership. She specifically cited the campaign's decision to move people from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, Maryland, and then "lay them off with no notice" and "without thoughtful consideration of the personal consequences to them."
Staffers and allies within the campaign have expressed concerns about Harris for going on the offensive against rivals, only to retreat, and for not firmly choosing a side in the party’s ideological feud between liberals and moderates, according to the report.
The organization of the campaign was also criticized. The New York Times spoke to Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, an influential leader within the Congressional Black Caucus, who said she told Harris that "there needs to be a change" and has urged the candidate to remove Juan Rodriguez, the campaign manager. "The weakness is at the top. And it’s clearly Juan. He needs to take responsibility — that’s where the buck stops.”
Mehlenbacher's letter came a few days after a November staff meeting during which aides pressed Rodriguez about strategy and finances after sweeping layoffs ahead of the campaign's movement in Iowa.
"Just like every campaign, we have made tough decisions to have the resources we need to place in Iowa and springboard into the rest of the primary calendar," Rodriguez said in a statement, while Harris declined to comment on the Times’ article.
Harris has faced a fundraising blow, diving from $12 million in early 2019 — just behind top-ranked Sanders, who collected more than $18 million — to a flat-lining $11 million in the second and third quarters of the year. The report suggests the campaign is bracing for a significant financial hit to close out the year, while the campaign mulls whether to consider embracing super PACs to try to rake in more cash ahead of 2020.