Kamala Harris’ campaign is spending the next three days trying to extend the best two hours of her political career.
Harris’ surprise cross-examination of frontrunner Joe Biden produced the third-biggest fundraising bonanza since her launch. The Democratic senator is working to capitalize ahead of a crucial second quarter fundraising deadline: She blanketed news shows with nearly a dozen TV appearances, and her digital team is pumping out clips and other reminders of her interrogating Biden, hoping that Democratic voters will envision her doing the same thing to Donald Trump.
“It’s a great springboard,” said Bakari Sellers, the former state lawmaker and top Harris surrogate in South Carolina, saying it would add rocket fuel to her end-of-quarter fundraising push. Sellers said he’s taken a just-you-wait approach with people who’ve questioned Harris’ stock. “Last night, everyone said ‘there it is right there.’ No one can describe what ‘it’ is. But now they know she has it.”
Inside Harris’ campaign, the first debate was viewed as the unofficial start of the contest, the first big opportunity when primary voters start paying attention to the presidential race. The debate coincided with a new level of comfort she’s described feeling in recent weeks with opening up about her upbringing and personal life, more than a half-dozen aides and allies told POLITICO, something they’ve been gently urging her to do as a way to forge a connection with many voters who don’t know her.