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Potential Good News re: The Senate

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rimrocker, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. rimrocker

    rimrocker Contributing Member

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    Gary Hart is close to announcing he will square off against Ben Nighthorse Campbell in Colorado and Katherine Harris is very seriously considering thumbing her nose at Rove and plunging into the Florida race. The former looks like a certainty while the latter may be a trial balloon to try and get more concessions from Rove, but in reading the article, she sounds serious. Stay tuned.
    ____________

    Harris defends bid for Senate
    Florida's famous former secretary of state bucks conventional wisdom and says her role in the 2000 recount could actually be a political advantage for the president.
    BY PETER WALLSTEN
    pwallsten@herald.com

    If Katherine Harris runs for the Senate next year, the White House and leading Republicans fear that her starring role in the 2000 recount would incite Democrats and hurt President Bush's reelection chances in the nation's biggest swing state.

    But Harris has a competing theory: She would excite the GOP base even more and could use the recount to the party's advantage.

    The former Florida secretary of state, widely considered one of the most polarizing forces in Republican politics, said in an interview that a Senate campaign would let her ''set the record straight'' on the Florida election battle that thrust her into international fame and made her a target for late-night comics and Saturday Night Live.

    She wants to make it clear that ``the president was elected with integrity.''

    ''I'm getting a lot of anecdotal evidence at this point that it would help the president,'' Harris told The Herald.

    ''Certainly the Democrats have said they will make the recount the issue in Florida, regardless if I'm on the ballot or not,'' she added, ``and I'm the only one that has the opportunity to gut all the inane arguments that they make about the recount, which are really ludicrous.''

    Harris, who authored a book about her experiences during the recount, won a congressional seat from the Sarasota area in 2002. She first revealed two weeks ago that she was considering a run to replace the retiring Sen. Bob Graham.

    If Harris enters the race, she would be the most well-known candidate in a crowded GOP field that still lacks a front-runner.

    She also would command a major fundraising advantage. In the 2002 cycle, national GOP strategists believe that Harris raised more money across the country for Republican committees and candidates than anyone else besides President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

    But, spurred by their fear that a Harris candidacy would dredge up unpleasant memories of the protracted legal fight that led to Bush's 2000 victory, White House strategists in recent days began courting another GOP heavyweight, U.S. Housing Secretary Mel Martínez.

    They backed off their efforts after the president's brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, told them to let the Florida race take its own course.

    Martínez, who would likely have to resign his Cabinet post within weeks to avoid violating laws limiting federal officials from politicking, said Monday he is still pondering his future but expects to make a decision soon. Many Republicans believe the Cuban-born, former elected manager of Orange County would quickly lead the field.

    The other candidates are former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, state Sen. Daniel Webster, state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd and judicial activist Larry Klayman.

    Harris said she believes she would be the strongest candidate of all who are running or might run.

    She said her decision will not be affected by Martínez's decision.

    ''It's been widely reported that it would, and I'm not quite sure why,'' she said.

    But as Harris appears to grow more confident in a bid, some in her party grow more nervous.

    ''She would significantly energize Democrats, not only in Florida but around the country,'' said Jim Smith, a Republican lobbyist and former secretary of state who said he is pinning his hopes on Martinez.

    One senior GOP operative in Washington said Monday that Harris will not get the encouragement she wants from the White House, and that if she runs, ``the entire campaign in Florida becomes a rehash of the recount.''

    Harris said Monday that she has had little contact with White House officials.

    And, she said, she has sympathy for Democrats still angry about the recount.

    ''What pains me deepest is the fact that millions of people literally have angst and gut-level pain because they believed they were disenfranchised, that their votes weren't counted, that Al Gore could have been elected if not for one maneuver,'' she said.

    ``All these years they've felt that angst, and it's unnecessary, totally unnecessary.''
     

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