The change in electoral strategy also coincided with a staff reorganization, including a campaign role for Ms. Harris’s Senate chief of staff, Rohini Kosoglu. The campaign denied reports that the changes indicated discontent with the structure of Ms. Harris’s current senior staff.
However, people inside the campaign said that the overlapping roles of Ms. Harris’s political consultants from California; springtime hires such as Jim Margolis, the Democratic advertising guru who has worked with the party’s last three presidential nominees; and Maya Harris, the senator’s sister, campaign chair and close confidante, have at times contributed to organizational confusion.
Ms. Harris’s supporters online and in early voting states have come up with their own reasoning for her recent downturn: a biased news media that is favoring white candidates such as Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg.
Lance Pringle, president of United Auto Workers Local 2162 in Reno, said even if Ms. Harris stumbled, it had been amplified by a press that treats women of color more harshly.
“I notice it, definitely,” Mr. Pringle said. “Warren came out of nowhere and Kamala was on top at the beginning. Like I said, skin color matters — whether we like it or not.”
Allen Warner, 41, said he believed impeachment would help springboard Ms. Harris’s candidacy.
“Other candidates may have clearer plans, but I just feel like we’re fighting for our democracy, and she’s the one who I connect with and who resonates leadership,” Mr. Warner said.
For all the technical changes the campaign is making, which also include holding more intimate events in Iowa rather than large rallies, there remains the question of message. Ms. Harris has, at times, embraced large-scale solutions such as a mandatory gun buyback program and ending the Senate filibuster to pass the Green New Deal. But she has rarely advocated for them consistently or with conviction, frustrating the very progressive activists such policies are meant to please.