Harris campaign makes moves to reduce costs

Photo courtesy of atlantablackstar.com

Photo courtesy of atlantablackstar.com

The Senate campaign of California Attorney General Kamala Harris has displeased Democratic insiders, who worry that their leading candidate to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer hasn’t run a tight enough ship.

Spokesman Nathan Click recently admitted the operation was “changing campaign managers and making moves to reduce costs,” after what the Sacramento Bee reported was “unusually heavy spending in recent months.”

“Click said the campaign was making spending cuts involving consultants and staff but declined to detail them,” the Bee noted, although the resignation of campaign manager Rory Steele — replaced by senior adviser Juan Rodriguez — was not as easily concealed.

At issue was the campaign’s eyebrow-raising spending, which included repeated, relatively lavish expenditures on Harris’s hotel accommodations. “Cam­paigns typ­ic­ally shell out big bucks on me­dia buys, staff salaries and ex­pens­ive fun­draisers. But spend­ing it on hous­ing, par­tic­u­larly when far cheap­er op­tions are avail­able, is atyp­ic­al, cam­paign vet­er­ans say, and even Har­ris’s fel­low Demo­crats have taken no­tice,” according to National Journal:

“It’s not as if the Cali­for­nia at­tor­ney gen­er­al had money to burn, either. She’s already spent more than 40 per­cent of the $6 mil­lion she’s raised since be­com­ing a can­did­ate in Janu­ary, an alarm­ing burn rate for a can­did­ate who is also on her second cam­paign man­ager and third fin­ance dir­ect­or. In her latest fun­drais­ing re­port, cov­er­ing the peri­od of Ju­ly through Septem­ber, the dis­crep­ancy between money com­ing in and money go­ing out was es­pe­cially acute: $1.8 mil­lion to $1.4 mil­lion.”

Champagne tastes

Compounding the problem, Harris’s taste for high-end living recently landed her in a crisis of a different sort — a state ethics probe involving the Fair Political Practices Commission.

“A $21,000 spruce-up of her San Francisco loft by designer-to-the-stars Ken Fulk wound up putting state Attorney General Kamala Harris under the microscope for possibly accepting an illegal gift,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “The A.G. eventually ended up in the clear — but not before cutting a check for more than $10,000.” After the FPPC made some inquiries, “Harris asked Fulk for an accounting for any money she still owed on the job and sent in a final check for $10,245,” the paper added.

California law bars elected state officials “from receiving a gift or gifts totaling more than $460 in a calendar year,” according to the Los Angeles Times, “with a few exceptions.”

Even with her name cleared by the FPPC, Harris has faced a difficult time turning the page on the broader pattern of conduct underscored by her relationship with Fulk. “Har­ris’s frivol­ous spend­ing on air­fare, lux­ury cars, and ho­tels is highly un­usu­al for a Sen­ate can­did­ate that has a re­l­at­ively com­pet­it­ive race,” one nation­al Demo­crat­ic strategist told National Journal. “And the cam­paign is in the fin­an­cial mess that it’s in be­cause of its de­cision to do those things.”

New vulnerability

The scrutiny directed at Harris would be significant regardless of her position heading toward the state primary election. But with California’s new top-two runoff system, known as the “jungle” primary, her missteps have taken on much greater significance. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who also wants to succeed Boxer, has been running a less polished underdog campaign. But she has begun to expand her base of support beyond Southern California, where it remains very strong. According to the Orange County Register, Sanchez recently roped in Central Valley endorsements from Rep. Jim Costa, D-Frenso, and former Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, and even made inroads in Harris’s San Francisco backyard with a nod from Silicon Valley Rep. Anna Eshoo.

With Republicans divided and the state GOP occasionally willing to simply sit out an election in the hopes of helping control the winning Democrat’s agenda, Harris has looked increasingly vulnerable. “Sanchez is more of an ideological centrist, as shown by her most recent spate of endorsements, and thus would more naturally draw support from business and conservative groups, as well as Republican voters,” Dan Walters noted at the San Jose Mercury News. In addition to wiping out a gender gap, “Sanchez could pull Latino votes away from Harris.” The momentum has California’s Northern California liberal establishment on edge, fearing the specter of the more left-leaning candidate losing out in yet another runoff election.

14 comments

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  1. maximilian
    maximilian 7 December, 2015, 10:25

    Anyone who has investigated KH’s workload over her latest term will find very little to boast about. Most of her time was taken in politicking any and every issue to show off her best side. Did she actually defend the state in any legal battle of substance? Her going forward effort will be dedicated to (a) ensure that the estimated 20 propositions on the Nov ’16 ballot have the necessary titles to enhance her stature (recall her destructive actions on pension reform in ’12) and (b) maneuver to keep her Dem opponents at bay throughout the campaign season.

    Our goal: Elect an (R) to replace KH.

    Reply this comment
  2. Bob
    Bob 7 December, 2015, 11:44

    “Hasn’t run a tight enough ship.” That does not matter to a liberal. Liberals would (vote in) the captain of a perfectly good ship that was purposely run up on a reef because he thought it would be entertaining.

    Reply this comment
  3. Vicki
    Vicki 7 December, 2015, 12:02

    With California in extreme drought, Kamala Harris has an opportunity to address significant environmental issues that are uppermost in our minds. The issue of water privatization for profit and externalization of the many societal costs is an idea whose time has come. Nestle in Sacramento and San Bernardino, Crystal Geyser in Weed and Mount Shasta just above the headwaters of the Sacramento River deserve her full attention and the Governor’s. We are asked to conserve and they extract up to 1.5 million gallons/ day and produce single use plastic bottles, an idea whose time has passed!!
    To not address this vital issue is opportunity lost!

    Reply this comment
  4. Liz
    Liz 7 December, 2015, 15:09

    The only reason this criminal isn’t in jail is because of obama. Just pull that cord and all of California will fall apart. She is number #4 MOST CORRUPT IN THE NATION. No we don’t want her representing us. HELL NO

    Reply this comment
  5. Margaret
    Margaret 7 December, 2015, 15:18

    As a lifelong resident of California both The San Joaquin Valley and Southern California I’m saddened to see the politically connected farmers planting more and more pistachio trees along highway 33 and highway 198. The people in Coalinga are denied access to clean water because there are so many thirsty pistachio trees that use gallons and gallons of water. Most of these nuts are shipped overseas. The residence of Coalinga are forced to use bottled water. I would like to see Loretta take on these rich farmers that are pumping the ground water that belongs to everyone.

    Reply this comment
    • Liz
      Liz 7 December, 2015, 15:27

      You do realize that California survives on farming right? It not the farmers that are diverting the water. Just don’t vote there is so much wrong in your comment it would take a hour to even start.

      Reply this comment
      • Vicki
        Vicki 7 December, 2015, 23:33

        This isn’t about the small farmers with almonds, walnuts, avocados, grapes and other thirsty crops. It is about BigAg adding these crops, Corporate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO’s, the beef and dairy lobby, alfalfa farmers shipping virtual water abroad. Add in toxins from fracking produced water, water bottling operations and pesticides concentrating in our soils and rivers…that’s what must be addressed.

        Reply this comment
    • tickedpapa
      tickedpapa 7 December, 2015, 16:16

      Need to check your data. Farmers are NOT the largest water users. Thermometric is and the precious unreliable, inconsistent, inefficient, variable and costly solar power is part of that. Solar PV, CSP gobble more water than many farms. Politicians have been BS-ing Californians for years. It time to stop this crap!

      Reply this comment
      • Liz
        Liz 8 December, 2015, 23:02

        Thank you Tickedpapa I’m so over explaining and trying to correct people I have no patients anymore. I’ll stop there before I go into another rant. I “thought” this was a conservative site so was hoping for signs of intelligence.

        Reply this comment
  6. Dork
    Dork 7 December, 2015, 15:18

    Funny, they don’t care that she is Morally Bankrupt and Ethically Corrupt, only that she is spending too much money? Which in normal cases would be a PLUS, But only if it TAXPAYER MONEY I guess.

    Reply this comment
  7. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 7 December, 2015, 20:41

    Ba Hum Bug Graboids….she will continue to rule you-

    Reply this comment
  8. Mike
    Mike 9 December, 2015, 04:52

    Going shopping today. Most worried about gun owning White Christians fighting the Crusades.
    All praise belongs to Allah.
    Read the Quran.
    Islam- the religion of peace.
    Kill, Kill, Kill.

    Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 9 December, 2015, 08:45

      What most people do not understand that VIOLENT people are in every religion, and VIOLENCE has been perpetrated against mankind for eons in the name of religion, every religion including Catholicism and Christianity…and all the rest.

      Reply this comment
      • Teddy
        Teddy 12 December, 2015, 09:06

        LOL Wow Poodle Girl– thanks—- that was profound!
        I love this blog!

        Reply this comment

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