Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Front-Page Kathy

Well, there’s nothing like being called a “pariah” on the front page of the New York Times to boost your Senate campaign.

Undaunted by a run of horrific poll numbers, staff turmoil and public doubts from leaders of her party, Representative Katherine Harris is thinking confidently beyond November.


In her insistence on running, Ms. Harris has become something of a pariah among many of the people whose power she indirectly helped ensure five and a half years ago, as overseer of the recount that sealed George W. Bush’s victory.

Top White House officials, Republican operatives and Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida have urged her not to run. When Ms. Harris ignored those entreaties, a Who’s Who of national Republicans begged a Who’s Who of Florida Republicans to oppose her in the primary, to no avail.

Her campaign has been marked by aides leaving en masse, disclosures of her ties to a contractor caught up in a lobbying scandal and the fund-raising handicaps inherent to any enterprise perceived as a lost cause or, worse, a joke.

Ed Rollins, one of Ms. Harris’s many former campaign consultants, claimed she had told him that God wanted her to stay in the race. (Ms. Harris denies making the statement.)

She promised to finance her campaign with $10 million of her own money. Popular wisdom says that will not matter. Mr. Nelson led Ms. Harris by more than 30 points in recent polls.


The belief among top Republicans was that Ms. Harris’s presence in 2006 would galvanize Democrats still eager for revenge after 2000.

“The campaign can’t be about her,” Governor Bush told reporters last month. “I gave her that exact advice. Since then, it’s gotten worse.”

Actually, it depends on your point of view; as far as I’m concerned, it’s getting better all the time.