Harris Calls Buttigieg `Naive' After Comments: Campaign Update

Mark Niquette

(Bloomberg) -- California Senator Kamala Harris vowed that “we are going to end up in Iowa doing very well” after announcing plans to cut staff elsewhere and refocus her 2020 Democratic presidential effort on the state.

Harris called South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s suggestion that the Democratic nomination is fast becoming a contest between Elizabeth Warren and him “naive.”

Asked in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” whether she has to finish in the top three in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus to keep her bid alive, Harris said she’s “all in” there and “we’re going to do well in Iowa, and I’m sure of that.”

Harris is making moves, including cutting staff at her Baltimore headquarters and redeploying field staff to Iowa, as her once-ascendant campaign fails to catch on and she remains locked out of the top tier of candidates. She’s also closing three of her four campaign offices in New Hampshire.

Buttigieg suggested in a Showtime interview airing Sunday that Iowa “is getting to be a two-way” race with Warren, the Massachusetts senator. That drew a response from Harris that “it’s naive for him to think that at this point.”

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday whether it’s now a two-way race, Buttigieg said, “not yet, no” and “there is a tremendous amount of energy for a range of candidates who are extremely capable.”

Warren-Biden Gap Narrows in ABC/Wash Post Poll (8:51 a.m.)

Senator Elizabeth Warren narrowed the gap with former Vice President Joe Biden in primary preferences for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday. Biden is seen as the stronger leader of the two, though, with the best chance of defeating President Donald Trump in 2020.

His support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents was unchanged at 27% in the survey conducted Oct. 27-30 compared with one in early September, while Warren’s rose to 21% from 17%. Senator Bernie Sanders’ support held steady at 19%.

The survey also showed support rising for Pete Buttigieg and falling for California Senator Kamala Harris. Voters voiced some health concerns over Sanders, who had a heart attack last month; they were split on the question about whether he’s “healthy enough to be president.”

Backing for Harris slipped to 2% from 7% in September and 11% in July. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had 7% support, up three percentage points since early September.

Some 1,003 adults were surveyed by Lander Research Associations. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points. -- Niluksi Koswanage

COMING UP

Democratic candidates, including Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, continue to hold events Sunday in Iowa, home to the first 2020 nominating contest.

--With assistance from Niluksi Koswanage.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at mniquette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Mark Niquette

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