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Kamala Harris raises $1.5 m in 24 hrs, Democratic field expands and birthers reboot

Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris has raised $1.5 million within 24 hours of announcing her 2020 White House run in a sign of a strong campaign kick off that pits her against an expanding field of Democratic candidates who hope to take on President Donald Trump, and prevent him a second term.

The list of Democrats vying for the party nomination has grown by one since Harris’s announcement. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, launched a long-shot bid on Wednesday, becoming the first openly gay candidate for the White House. He joins Senators Elizabeth Warren (an exploratory committee, technically) and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Joaquin Castro, and Harris.

Also, a self-described Trump supporter, Jacob Wohl, sought to start a “birther” controversy about Harris questioning her eligibility to run for the White House citing her immigrant parents and that she stayed in Canada parents for some years. He was immediately slammed by both conservatives and liberals for trying to reboot the baseless and insidious campaign that had dogged former president Barack Obama, chiefly by this successor in the White House now, Donald Trump.

Harris stayed focussed. “In the first 24 hours of announcing our campaign I am so proud to tell you we have raised a million dollars with an average contribution of less than $40 and we have received support from all 50 states,” said the first Indian American woman and only the second African American woman to run for the White House, in a short video message Tuesday, adding in a Twitter post “we surpassed $1.5 million”.

Also read | Kamala Harris represents the rise of the Indian Americans

That matches the previous 24-hour high posted by Bernie Sanders in 2015. A candidate’s fund-raising ability is often taken as a measure of their prospects, and Harris is off to a flying start. She will now be eyeing the next funding marker — the first quarter kitty.

President Obama, who pioneered tapping small donors on the Internet— in addition to big donors, had raised $26 million in his first quarter in 2007, according to Open Secrets, which tracks the role of money in US politics; Hillary Clinton, the then front-runner raised more, $36 million in the same period. Their 24-hour hauls could not be immediately ascertained. But unlike Harris and Sanders, Obama had two start days — announced a presidential exploratory committee on January 17 and a formal launch on February 10.

Shutdown talks

US senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on two competing bills to reopen the government, with neither expected to be voted through with the support of 60 members. The first proposal, backed by Republicans, encompasses the president’s plan to fund the border wall with $5.7 billion in exchange for temporary reprieve from deportation for those brought to the US illegally as children.The other, backed by Democrats, simply funds the affected departments till February 8.

Also read | 1st Indian-origin senator Kamala Harris announces presidential bid, raises USD 1 mn in 24 hours

First Published: Jan 23, 2019 22:24 IST

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