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How will Kamala Harris impact the rest of the Democratic ticket?

Bridget Bowman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- The fundraising email from California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris hit inboxes Tuesday evening with the subject line "Proud to announce." But it wasn't about Harris making history as her party's vice presidential nominee.

"I'm excited to let you know ... that I'm proudly endorsing Cindy Axne for Congress!" read the email, touting the Iowa Democrat who is in a hotly contested reelection race in the Des Moines-based 3rd District.

Axne's fundraising blast epitomized how Democrats in competitive House and Senate races could tap into the energy surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden's decision to choose Harris as his running mate. The announcement appeared to be a fundraising boon for Democrats on Tuesday, with $10.8 million flowing through the ActBlue platform, according to The New York Times. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also had its best online fundraising day ever.

Biden campaign spokesman Matt Hill said in a statement to CQ Roll Call that Biden has been building a coalition "to not only beat Donald Trump, but to elect Democrats up and down the ballot."

Harris, he said, "lifts up women of color across the country, and supercharges the path to victory for our campaign and Democrats running everywhere."

But Harris has taken positions that were more liberal than Biden has, and that could be problematic for Democratic incumbents in the 30 districts President Donald Trump carried in 2016 and Senate candidates hoping to flip states Trump won.

 

Republicans wasted no time trying to tie vulnerable Democrats to Harris' positions on issues such as the Green New Deal, which would overhaul the economy to combat climate change. Harris co-sponsors the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, as well as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" legislation. But Harris did introduce her own health care plan during her presidential campaign that would build on Medicare and still allow for private insurance coverage.

"Doug Jones has a Kamala Harris problem," read an email from the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Wednesday, referring to the most vulnerable senator running for reelection this year. The Alabama Democrat is seeking a full term in a state Trump carried by 28 points.

"Despite his claims of bipartisanship, anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones has hitched his wagon to a potential Biden-Harris administration," said NRSC spokeswoman Paige Lindgren. She said Jones "has given up on representing the conservative values that Alabamians hold true."

Republicans working in House races also sought to link vulnerable Democrats to the top of the ticket after Biden's announcement. Calvin Moore, a spokesman for the GOP super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, said in a Tuesday statement that "House Democrats will have a difficult time keeping up their phony moderate charades."

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