Katherine Harris

Infobox Congressman
name=Katherine Harris


width=175
state=Florida
district=13th
party=Republican Party
term=January 3, 2003January 3, 2007
preceded=Dan Miller
succeeded=Vern Buchanan
office2=Secretary of State of Florida
term2=1999–2003
preceded2=Sandra Mortham
succeeded2=James C. Smith
date of birth=birth date and age|1957|04|05
place of birth=Key West, Florida
spouse=Anders Ebbeson
religion=Non-denominational Protestant
alma_mater=Agnes Scott College, Harvard University
occupation=computer executive
residence=Sarasota, Florida

Katherine Harris (born April 5, 1957, Key West, Florida) is an American Republican politician and former Secretary of State of Florida and a former member of the US House of Representatives best known for her role in the 2000 Presidential election. Harris won the 2002 election to represent Florida's 13th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. She held that post from 2003 to 2007. Harris lost the November 7, 2006 election to represent Florida in the United States Senate.

Harris rose to national attention due to her role as Secretary of State of Florida during the 2000 Presidential Election.

Background

Harris' family is one of Florida's wealthiest and most politically influential. [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/11/15/politics/main249787.shtml "The Woman in Charge"] CBS News, November 26 2000.] Her father owned Citrus and Chemical Bank in Lakeland, Florida.Joe Follick, "Tracks in Florida's Sand", "Tampa Tribune", July 22, 2001.] Her grandfather was Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., a wealthy businessman in the citrus and cattle industries and a powerful figure in the state legislature. [ [http://www.flheritage.com/museum/mfh/calendar/ Calendar and Exhibits] , "Museum of Florida History". June 10, 2006] Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida is named for him. Becker, Jo, and Dana Milbank. "Controversy swirls around Harris." "Washington Post". November 14, 2000. ] Harris married Swedish businessman Anders Sven Axel Ebbeson (born March 16, 1945) in 1996 and has one stepdaughter, Louise.

Harris comes from a family that is active in Christian evangelism. Her grandfather was a Christian missionary in Africa, while her aunt and uncle were missionaries in India and now head the Arab World Missions. Harris studied under Dr. Francis Schaeffer at a L’Abris Fellowship International center. She says her faith is “the most important thing in my life.” Harris grew up in the Presbyterian Church in America (she has criticized the Presbyterian Church (USA) for being "more liberal"). Currently she attends Calvary Chapel in Sarasota, Florida..

Education and early career

Harris graduated from Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida in 1975, and then attended the University of Madrid in 1978. Harris received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia in 1979, and then studied under Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer at the L'Abri community in Huemoz, Switzerland, not far from Lausanne. While in college she was an intern for U.S. Representative Andy Ireland. Harris received a mid-career masters degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 1997 with a concentration in international trade. Before entering politics, Harris was a marketing executive at IBM and a vice president of a commercial real estate firm. [ [http://www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=BFL41806 "Project Vote Smart — Representative Harris"] "Project Vote Smart". Accessed April 30 2006.]

Early political career

Harris entered politics by winning election to the Florida Senate in 1994 in one of the most expensive state races in Florida history to date. [Pinnell, Gary. [http://www.highlandstoday.com/MGBCVIDXTLE.html "Katherine Harris Puts All On Line for Race"] "Highlands Today (The Tampa Tribune)", April 10 2006.] Harris' political career was guided by Dan Berger, Adam Goodman, and Benjamin McKay, along with her campaign manager, David Lapides.

Florida Senate and Riscorp

In the 1994 state senate election, Sarasota-based Riscorp, Inc. made illegal contributions totaling $400,000 to dozens of political candidates and committees,Rado, Diane. [http://www.sptimes.com/State/82598/Harris_backed_bill_ai.html "Harris backed bill aiding Riscorp"] "St. Petersburg Times", August 25 1998.] including $20,600 to the Harris campaign. [ [http://www.nndb.com/people/067/000038950/ "Katherine Harris"] NNDB, Accessed April 30 2006.] Harris played a prominent role in introducing the CEO of Riscorp to various Florida legislators. Two years later, in 1996, Harris sponsored a bill "to block Riscorp competitors from getting a greater share of Florida workers' compensation market, [and] also pushed a proposal that would hurt a particular competitor." This issue later emerged during her campaign for Florida Secretary of State in 1998. According to a SunHerald column from June, 2005, "Harris denied any knowledge of the scheme, was never charged with any crime and was cleared of wrongdoing by a state investigator." [Gleason, Brian. [http://www.sun-herald.com/NewsArchive2/062805/cl5.htm?date=062805&story=cl5.htm "Will Harris get dragged into finance scandal?"] "Sun and Weekly Herald", June 28 2005.] The CEO of Riscorp, William Griffin, eventually pled guilty to illegal campaign donations amongst allegations of other serious wrongdoing at Riscorp and served prison time.

ecretary of State

Harris was elected Florida Secretary of State in 1998, defeating then-incumbent Sandra Mortham. [ [http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0877742.html "Katherine Harris"] "infoplease", Accessed on April 30 2006.] Her office played a leading role in the closely contested 2000 U.S. presidential election. Her SoS campaign was guided by Mark Reichelderfer, Trey Evers, Benjamin McKay, Adam Goodman and sometimes Dan Berger.

International travel

During her first 22 months in office, Harris spent more than $106,000 for travel, more than any cabinet officer or the governor. She visited eight countries on ten foreign trips, which included Iran, India, and the Netherlands.

In early 2001, Florida Senate leaders eliminated the $3.4 million that Harris had budgeted for international relations for the year, assigning it instead to Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development agency. But Florida House leader Tom Feeney said that he disagreed with the Senate and felt Harris was an able advocate to foreign countries. After the House refused to go along with the proposed budget action, the Senate agreed to restore the money but insisted on a review committee, appointed by Senate President John McKay, Feeney, and governor Jeb Bush, to evaluate all of Harris' expenditures on international affairs since July 1, 1999, and produce a report. [Morgan, Lucy. [http://www.sptimes.com/News/073101/State/Millions_for_Harris__.shtml "Millions for Harris' trips under review"] "St. Petersburg Times", July 31 2001.]

2000 US presidential election

As Secretary of State for the State of Florida, Harris was a central figure in the contested 2000 US presidential election in Florida. There were allegations of conflicts of interest and partisan and unethical behavior during the 2000 campaign. Harris had been named as Bush's Florida campaign co-chair the year before.

Harris certified that the Republican candidate, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, had defeated the Democratic candidate, then-Vice President Al Gore, in the popular vote of Florida and thus certified the Republican slate of electors. Despite the fact that the margin separating Bush from Gore was only a few hundred votes, with thousands of votes remaining to be counted, Harris ordered a halt to the count, freezing Bush's small margin in place. Her ruling was challenged and overturned on appeal by Florida's Supreme Court; this decision, however, was itself reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in "Bush v. Gore." That Court ruled (5-4) that Gore's request to extend Florida's statutory deadline for ballot re-counts had no merit because no Florida law at the time provided for that option. This ruling nullified the state court's decision, upholding Harris' certification. The decision foreclosed any further court challenges by Gore and resulted in Bush's margin of victory in Florida being officially tallied at 537 votes. Therefore, Florida's electoral votes — and the Presidency — went to Bush.

Harris later wrote "Center of the Storm", her own memoir of the 2000 election controversy, in which she presents her side and takes issue with her critics. She was also heavily featured in the documentary "".

United States Congresswoman

In 2002, Harris ran against Sarasota Attorney Jan Schneider for the congressional district vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Dan Miller, winning by 10 percentage points in this overwhelmingly Republican district.

Harris considered running for the seat of retiring Senator Bob Graham in 2004 but was reportedly dissuaded by the Bush White House to allow Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez to run for the open seat. Martinez went on to narrowly beat challenger Betty Castor. Harris ran for re-election to her House seat in 2004; she was re-elected with a margin four points lower than her previous showing. [http://srqelections.com/results/gen2004sum.htm]

In a 2004 speech in Venice, Florida, Harris claimed that a "Middle Eastern" man was arrested for attempting to blow up the power grid in Carmel, Indiana; [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/08/05/politics/main634122.shtml "Katherine Harris 'Oops' On Terror"] "CBS News", August 5 2004.] Carmel Mayor James Brainard and a spokesman for Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan said they had no knowledge of such a plot. Brainard said he had never spoken to Harris. [ [http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040804/NEWS/408040633/1060 HeraldTribune.com - News - News stories about Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties in Florida, from the newspapers of record. - HeraldTribune.com ] ]

During a 2004 campaign stop in Sarasota, a local resident, Barry Seltzer, "tr [ied] to 'intimidate' a group of Harris supporters" by menacing Harris and her supporters with his automobile. Witnesses described Seltzer as having swerved off the road and onto the sidewalk, directing it at Harris and her supporters. Nobody was injured in the incident. Seltzer, who claimed he was "exercising [his] political expression," was eventually arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/27/fl.13.harris.attack "Man accused of trying to run down Rep. Katherine Harris"] "CNN", October 27 2004.]

Involvement in the MZM scandal

In 2005 and 2006, Harris faced political controversy when a major corporate campaign donor, defense contractor MZM, Inc., was implicated in a bribery scandal that resulted in the criminal conviction and resignation of California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and conviction of MZM founder, Mitchell Wade. Wade bundled together $32,000 in contributions from employees of MZM, and reimbursed those employees for their contributions.cite news |title="Harris didn't tell all about donations" |date=February 26, 2006 |author=Jeremy Wallace |publisher=Sarasota Herald-Tribune |url=http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060226/NEWS/602260310]

Regarding this issue, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein has recently said that Harris did not appear to know the donations were obtained illegally. Harris has maintained she had no personal knowledge that her campaign was given illegal contributions. For its part, Wade admitted that the donations to the Harris campaign were illegal and were part of an attempt to influence Harris to MZM's benefit. [cite news | author=Jeremy Wallace |title='Straw' Breaking Harris' Back |url=http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060226/NEWS/602260371/1134]

Documents filed with Wade's plea say that he took Harris to dinner in March 2005, a year after the illegal contributions, where they discussed the possibility of another fundraiser and the possibility of getting funding for a Navy counterintelligence program in the member's district. [cite news | title="Contractor Pleads Guilty to Corruption"|author=Charles Babcock |publisher=The Washington Post | date=February 25, 2006 | http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/24/AR2006022401737.html]

Harris sent a letter on April 26, 2005, to defense appropriations subcommittee Chairman C.W. Bill Young, in which Harris sought $10 million for a Navy project backed by Wade. [ [http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB5MTE1CKE.html] Dead link|date=March 2008] In the letter, Harris emphasized the importance of the project, asking that it be added to her list of five priorities and identifying it as her new No. 3. (Harris has released the April 26 letter, but neither she nor Young would turn over the request form used for the proposal.) [cite news | title=Harris Shuns Spending Requests | url=http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGB5MTE1CKE.html | article=Keith Epstein | publisher=Tampa Tribune |date=March 3, 2006]

CQPolitics noted "Harris’ former political strategist, Ed Rollins, spoke on the record about the dinner and detailed a meal that cost $2,800, far in excess of the $50 limit on gifts that members of Congress are allowed to accept" at the Washington restaurant Citronelle. [ [url=http://www.citronelledc.com/] Citronelle [/url] ] Wade and Harris discussed MZM's desire for a $10 million appropriation, and Wade offered to host a fundraiser for Harris' 2006 Senate campaign. Regarding the MZM contributions, the "Sentinel" article goes on to say "The Justice Department has said Wade, who personally handed many of the checks to Harris, did not tell Harris the contributions were illegal". Regarding the expensive meal, the article quotes Harris as saying that she personally had only a "beverage and appetizer" worth less than "$100". House rules prohibit accepting any gift worth $50 or more.

Rollins said that he had conducted a thorough internal investigation into Harris' ties to MZM in hopes of finding conclusive proof of her innocence; but when he could not, he and other advisers, including her lawyer, urged her to drop her candidacy rather than risk federal corruption charges. Although he did not believe Harris intentionally broke any laws, "her story kept changing. Our great concern was that you get into trouble when you don't tell the same story twice ... Maybe you don't think you did anything wrong, but then maybe you start getting questioned about it and so forth, and you may perjure yourself. ... Unlike Cunningham, I don't think she set out to violate the law, but I think she was very careless. She heard whatever she wanted to hear, but we could find no evidence whatsoever that this was a project going into her district." [http://www.sptimes.com/2006/05/21/State/Briber_paid_for_2nd_m.shtml sptimes.com] ]

Although Rollins recalled discussing the $2,800 meal with Harris, Harris told the Orlando Sentinel on April 19, 2006, that the cost of the meal was "news to me", and that her campaign had since "reimbursed" the restaurant for the cost of the meal. According to the reporter, when questioned as to why she would reimburse the restaurant for a meal that had been paid for by MZM, Harris abruptly terminated the interview, and her spokesman later called and requested unsuccessfully that the story not be printed. The next day, Harris' campaign issued a statement that she had believed that her campaign had reimbursed the restaurant, and that she had donated $100 "which will more than adequately compensate for the cost of my beverage and appetizer" to Global Dominion Impact Ministries, whose website details its founder's "inspiring testimony of her deliverance from being sold to devils as an infant. She also shares her miraculous healing from her breast cancer as well as being raised from the dead." [ [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/orlandosentinel/access/1024497761.html?dids=1024497761:1024497761&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Apr+21%2C+2006&author=Jim+Stratton%2C+Sentinel+Staff+Writer&pub=Orlando+Sentinel&edition=&startpage=A.1&desc=Contractor+picked+up+dinner+tab+for+Harris+ pqasb.pqarchiver.com] ] Harris also asserted that most of the cost of the meal was from Wade ordering several unopened bottles of wine to take home, although the management of the restaurant denies ever allowing anyone to take unopened bottles of wine off the premises, saying "Why would we jeopardize our liquor license for the sake of selling a couple bottles of wine?"

In the weeks following the expensive meal, former senior Harris staffers claimed that "they initially rejected a defense contractor's $10 million appropriation request last year but reversed course after being instructed by Harris to approve it." [cite news | title=Contractor's deal was Harris priority, former staffers say |author=Jim Stratton | publisher=Orlando Sentinel |date=May 4, 2006 |url=http://www.orlandosentinel.com/orl-mharrisrequest006may04,0,3855168.story]

In May 2006, Harris' campaign spokesman Christopher Ingram acknowledged that she had also had a previous dinner with Wade in the same restaurant in March 2004, when the $32,000 in illegal donations had been given to her campaign. Ingram told the press that he did not know how much that meal cost, but that a charitable donation of an unknown amount had been given to a charity whose name he did not know, equivalent to her share of the meal. "She takes responsibility for the oversight that there was no reimbursement," he said.

Mona Tate Yost, an aide to Harris, left to work for MZM during the time Wade was pressing Harris to secure federal funding (April or May 2005). [cite news | title=Ex-Harris Aide Linked to Convicted Contractor |author=Cory Reiss | publisher=The Ledger |date=March 1, 2006 |url=http://theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060301/NEWS/603010336/1004]

On July 17, 2006, Ed Rollins confirmed that Justice Department lawyers and FBI agents had recently questioned her about the $32,000 in donations. Rollins noted: "I assume more [interviews] will be coming, though. They were very serious." [cite news | title=Feds query ex-adviser on Harris |author=Jim Stratton | publisher=Orlando Sentinel |date=July 18, 2006 |url=http://www.orlandosentinel.com/orl-harris1806jul18,0,2719927.story]

On September 7, 2006, Federal investigators questioned Jim Dornan, who quit as Harris's campaign manager the previous November. [ [http://www.sptimes.com/2006/09/09/State/Feds_interview_Harris.shtml "Feds interview Harris' ex-campaign manager"] , "St. Petersburg Times"]

2006 Senate race

Overview

On June 7, 2005, with support from her new campaign advisors of Ed Rollins, Ed Goeas and Jim Dornan, Harris announced her candidacy for the 2006 Florida United States Senate election, challenging incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

Both lackluster fundraising relative to Nelson and controversy over campaign contributions from MZM caused Harris to fall far behind in all polls by May 2006.Late in the primary race, Republican contender Will McBride polled only 31 points behind Nelson in a hypothetical election against him, while Harris polled 33 points behind Nelson in the same poll. However, Harris showed she was still popular among Republican voters by winning the September 5 primary over McBride and two other challengers with approximately 50% of the total vote. [ [http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x12942.xml?ReleaseID=934] ]

Despite Harris' support of many Republican causes and her previous statewide victories, some party leaders expressed doubt about her statewide appeal:

* In May 2006, Florida Governor Jeb Bush questioned Harris's ability to win the general election and encouraged others to challenge her in the primary. [ [http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/05/08/D8HFODK0B.html "Gov. Bush Doubts Harris Can Win Sen. Seat"] , Associated Press, May 8, 2006.] [cite news | title= Republican declines to run against Harris | publisher=The San Diego Union-Tribune |date=May 11, 2006 |url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060511/news_1n11nation.html]

* Karl Rove expressed doubts about her statewide appeal.

* National Republicans openly criticized her campaign and tried to convince other GOP candidates to challenge Harris in the primary. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060502/ap_on_go_co/common_cause_harris] Dead link|date=March 2008]

* Florida state House of Representatives Speaker Allan Bense declined the candidacy on May 11 despite public courting by many leaders including Governor Bush.

* Conservative pundit and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough was also unsuccessfully recruited to enter the race. Departing Harris aides claim that Harris called potential Scarborough supporters and raised the death of an aide in order to prevent his entry into the race."Story of 'Joe's dead intern' began Harris' slide, insiders say", "Miami Herald", July 14, 2006] Scarborough later told Nelson that drawing Harris as an opponent in the race made him "the luckiest man in Washington". [ [http://www.sptimes.com/2006/05/11/State/GOP_can_t_elude_Harri.shtml"GOP can't elude Harris vs. Nelson"] , St. Petersburg Times, May 11, 2006.]

Nelson defeated Harris by over one million votes; Harris polled less than 39% of the vote.

Campaign troubles

By late July 2006, she had gone through three campaign managers and her campaign was floundering. At that time, it was disclosed that state Republican Party leaders had told Harris they would not support her because she could not win in the general election.

Financial difficulties

Financial problems plagued her Senate campaign from the start. During the primary, it was clear that the incumbent Senator Nelson had a substantial financial advantage.

On the March 15, 2006 edition of Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes", Harris pledged to spend $10 million of her own money, which she said was all of her inheritance, on her campaign. She also stated that her run is dedicated to the memory of her father. [ [http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060316/NEWS/603160716 "Harris in to win with her own $10M"] "Sarasota Herald-Tribune", March 16, 2006]

Despite her promise, the $10 million never materialized. Reports surfaced that Harris would not actually receive the inheritance from her father, who instead left his entire estate to her mother. She donated $3 million to her campaign, but later took back $100,000, fueling speculation that she would be unable to donate the promised amount. [ [http://www.sptimes.com/2006/08/26/State/Harris_campaign_await.shtml "Harris campaign awaits her cash"] "St. Petersburg Times", August 26, 2006]

In October, Harris announced that she was trying to sell her house in Washington to raise money for her campaign, [ [http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2006/10/18/harris-vows-to-sell-home-to-raise-cash-for-campaign/ "Harris Vows to Sell Home to Raise Cash for Campaign"] "Washington Wire," "Wall Street Journal", October 18, 2006] but the home was not publicly listed for sale and no sale was ever announced.

taff resignations

In late February 2006, in the midst of revelations surrounding Mitchell Wade's illegal contributions, Harris' campaign finance director and campaign treasurer both resigned. [cite news | title=Setback for Harris campaign is latest of several rough spots |author=Joe Follick | publisher=Herald Tribune |date=February 26, 2006 |url=http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060226/NEWS/602260714]

On April 1, 2006 Harris' top campaign advisor, pollster and campaign manager all resigned with a half-dozen other staffers. Republican pollster and consultant David Johnson said, "I've never seen staffers go like this. It's just imploding."Fact|date=February 2007

In early April 2006, Harris told the "Tampa Tribune" that some of her ex-campaign staffers and the national Republican party were deliberately sabotaging her campaign by "putting knives in her back" and had warned her that if she did not back out of the campaign, she would get an "April surprise". [ [http://www.tampatrib.com/MGBEOW9PLLE.html] Dead link|date=March 2008] Dead link|date=May 2008 Former campaign staffer Ed Rollins said "They were all good professionals...There was no backstabbing. It's insulting that she would even say that. If she wants to know what went wrong with the campaign, maybe she needs to take a good look in the mirror." [ [http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20060404&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=604040332&S HeraldTribune.com - News - News stories about Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties in Florida, from the newspapers of record. - HeraldTribune.com ] ]

In June, the Harris campaign received a legal bill for thousands of dollars that contained a reference to "DOJ subpoena". Later, an ex-aide told the Associated Press that Harris had received a grand jury subpoena from federal investigators, but kept it from her top advisers, prompting several staff members to quit when they found out. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060802/ap_on_el_se/florida_senate_harris;_ylt=Aip7cWMeF3Jx6AfnGGKSfnSyFz4D;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM- news.yahoo.com] ]

On June 8, 2006, Harris' fourth chief of staff, Fred Asbell, left in order to pursue a "business opportunity". Asbell said he'd "greatly enjoyed" his time with the campaign and he would remain in a consultant position. [ [http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orl-harris0906jun09,0,2031459.story?coll=orl-news-headlines "Harris loses 4th chief of staff"] "Orlando Sentinel", June 8, 2006.]

On July 13, 2006, Harris' campaign manager Glenn Hodas, spokesman Chris Ingram, field director Pat Thomas, political director Brian Brooks and Deputy field director John K Byers all resigned from her campaign. [cite news | url=http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060714/NEWS/607140301 | title=Five staffers leave Harris campaign | author=Jeremey Wallace |date=July 14, 2006 |publisher=Sarasota Herald Tribune] Hodas cited Harris' "tantrums" and "increasingly erratic behavior" as his reasons for leaving. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060714/ap_on_el_se/senate_harris news.yahoo.com] ] An anonymous campaign worker described Harris as "very difficult to work with. The more that we put her out there, the more she shot herself in the foot." [cite news | title=Harris Campaign Staff Quits (Again) | publisher=Political Wire |date=February 26, 2006 |url=http://politicalwire.com/archives/2006/07/12/harris_campaign_staff_quits_again.html]

In late August, Harris lost another key staffer, Rhyan Metzler, in the wake of a disastrous political rally at Orlando Executive Airport. Only 40 people showed up for the event, and Harris blamed the paltry turnout in part on a last-minute change in location. She claimed that a tree fell on the hangar that was originally scheduled to hold the rally, forcing her campaign to switch to another hangar. Airport officials, however, stated that no trees had fallen, and that the event in fact took place in the hangar that Harris' campaign had originally booked. Harris' campaign blamed Metzler for the comments Harris made after the rally. [ [http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-stbriefs22_306aug22,0,1329344.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-state orlandosentinel.com] ]

On August 31, 2006, Harris was interviewed on the "Hardball" television show, where she responded to the criticisms from her former staffers with "We have their email traffic, we know what was behind all that, we know who's been paid and who isn't." [ [http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Video_Katherine_Harris_claims_a_wave_0831.html rawstory.com] ]

Lack of Republican support

The Pensacola News Journal suggested that Harris might withdraw from the Senate race after winning a primary victory, thereby allowing the Republicans to nominate another candidate, such as Tom Gallagher, to run against Bill Nelson. [cite news | url=http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060726/NEWS01/607260337/1006 | title=Harris win could pose bizarre twist. Some speculate on primary victory followed by withdrawal from Senate race | author=Larry Wheeler |date=July 26, 2006 |publisher=Pensacola News-Journal]

Katherine Harris has been dismissed by one Republican colleague as an "overbearing virago who should not have entered politics". She has lost significant support even among fellow Republicans, partly becauseof Bill Nelson's clear victory. However Katherine Harris, still maintains considerable support among the Republican Floridian Jewish community.In August, Katherine Harris touted political endorsements from fellow Republican lawmakers on her campaign web site. However, some of those cited claim that they never endorsed her. This conflict resulted in several Republican congressmen calling the Harris campaign to complain after the "St. Petersburg Times" notified them of the endorsements listed on Harris' Web site. A short time later, their names were removed without comment from Harris' Web site. [ [http://www.sptimes.com/2006/08/17/State/Backing_Harris_Her_li.shtml State: Backing Harris? Her list shortens ] ]

Of Harris' three primary opponents, only Will McBride endorsed her candidacy for the general election. In the first few days after the primary, a number of Republican nominees such as Charlie Crist and Tom Lee went on a statewide unity tour with Gov. Bush. Harris was not invited; Republicans said the tour was only for nominees to statewide offices. Harris claimed Bush would campaign with her sometime in the two months before the election, but the governor's office denied this. [cite news | url=http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-harris09_106sep09,0,4515274.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-state| title=Harris, GOP differ on Jeb Bush commitment | author=Jim Stratton and Daphne Sashin|date=September 9, 2006 |publisher=Orlando Sentinel]

President Bush did not make public appearances or private meetings with Harris before the primary. He did, however, appear with her at a fundraiser on September 21 in Tampa.

All 22 of Florida's daily newspapers endorsed Nelson.

Controversy over religion

Harris was a headline speaker at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church's "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference held in Ft. Lauderdale on March 17–18, 2006. The conference web site invited attendees to attend in order to "reclaim this nation for Christ." [ [http://www.reclaimamerica.org/PAGES/CONFERENCES/RAC2006/default.asp Coral Ridge Ministries ] ] The stated mission of ReclaimAmerica.org is "To inform, equip, motivate, and support Christians; enabling them to defend and implement the Biblical principles on which our country was founded." [ [http://www.reclaimamerica.org/pages/aboutus.aspx Coral Ridge Ministries ] ] As part of her speech, Harris urged conferees to "win back America for God." Her appearance was noted in a "Rolling Stone" article covering the conference. [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/7235393/the_crusaders/ The Crusaders : Rolling Stone ] ]

In an interview with the "Florida Baptist Witness" on August 24, 2006, Harris called for Christians to vote on religious lines. She said,

“We have to have the faithful in government and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers. And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women and if people aren’t involved in helping godly men in getting elected then we’re going to have a nation of secular laws. That’s not what our founding fathers intended and that’s certainly isn’t what God intended. … we need to take back this country. … And if we don’t get involved as Christians then how could we possibly take this back? …If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin. They can legislate sin. They can say that abortion is alright. They can vote to sustain gay marriage. And that will take western civilization, indeed other nations because people look to our country as one nation as under God and whenever we legislate sin and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don’t know better, we are leading them astray and it’s wrong.”cite news| publisher= Florida Baptist Witness|url= http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/6298.article| title=Katherine Harris|date=Published August 24, 2006 Retrieved on Jan. 9, 2007]

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said she was "disgusted" by the comments "and deeply disappointed in Representative Harris personally,” adding "clearly shows that she does not deserve to be a representative." [cite news|title=Rep. Harris Condemns Separation of Church, State|author=Jim Stratton|publisher=Orlando Sentinel|date= August 26, 2006| url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/25/AR2006082501640.html Retrieved on Jan. 9, 2007] Two of Harris’ primary opponents denounced her statements, Republican Will McBride (an attorney and son of a pastor) stated “I’m a Christian, and I’m a Republican, and I don’t share her views. There are people of other faiths and backgrounds of outstanding integrity who know how to tell the truth.” Developer Bill Monroe, another GOP primary opponent called on her to quit the race and resign from Congress. He called her suggestion that non-Christian voters are ignorant of morality when voting as “contemptible, arrogant and wicked.”cite news|title=Katherine Harris tries to quell furor over remarks in Baptist newspaper| author=Robert Marus| date=August 28, 2006|url=http://www.abpnews.com/1327.article Retrieved on Jan. 9, 2007] On August 26, 2006 Harris' campaign released a "Statement of Clarification", that stated, “In the interview, Harris was speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government. Addressing this Christian publication, Harris provided a statement that explains her deep grounding in Judeo-Christian values." The press release went on to mention her past support of Israel and quoted her Jewish campaign manager Bryan Rudnick, who stated “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that she encourages people of all faiths to engage in government so that our country can continue to thrive on the principles set forth by our founding fathers, without malice towards anyone.” At an appearance at an Orlando gun show that same day, she said "it breaks my heart" to think people understood her comments as bigoted. When asked if she thought the Founding Fathers intended the nation to have secular laws she replied,

“I think that our laws, I mean, I look at how the law originated, even from Moses, the Ten Commandments. And I don't believe, that uh…. That's how all of our laws originated in the United States, period. I think that's the basis of our rule of law."

On October 3, 2006 Harris participated in a prayer service via phone call and stirred even more controversy. In one instance, she called for the elimination of the separation of church and state when she said,

"Treat the pastors' hearts so that those who think there's no place for government, have them understand kingdom government, and how they need to be involved in the governance on this earth because God is our governance."
Harris then went on and called for Jews to be converted to Christianity.
"And Father God, right now on the day after the Jewish new year, Father, after the day after atonement, as they enter into their new year, Father God, I just pray that you would bring the hearts and minds of our Jewish brothers and sisters into alignment." [ [http://www.tbo.com/news/politics/MGBNSMYJ3UE.html tbo.com] ] [ [http://wonkette.com/politics/katherine-harris/katherine-harris-prays-for-the-realignment-of-the-chosen-people-212673.php wonkette.com] ]

Replacements in the 13th Congressional District

Vern Buchanan was the Republican nominee and Christine Jennings the Democratic nominee to replace Harris in the 2006 election. The race had been ranked as "leaning Democratic" by CQ Politics, but Buchanan scored a very narrow victory, winning the election by a few hundred votes.

Political positions and voting record

Harris is a conservative Republican. She is pro-life and has voted against abortion rights and stem cell research. She opposes oil-drilling in Florida's coastal waters. Harris supported reforming Social Security to include private accounts. She has voted in favor of granting legal status to fetuses via the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. She supports tax cuts and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which restricts bankruptcy filings. Harris is also in favor of welfare reform, school vouchers, the Patriot Act, the Flag Desecration Amendment, the Federal Marriage Amendment, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. [ [http://www.issues2002.org/Senate/Katherine_Harris.htm issues2002.org] ] In a televised debate with Nelson on November 1, however, she repeatedly declined to say whether she would still support the Iraq War Resolution knowing that Iraq did not have the weapons of mass destruction attributed to it. [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/02/politics/main2146464.shtml cbsnews.com] ]

Popular culture

Harris was portrayed by Laura Dern in the 2008 HBO film "Recount", based upon the 2000 Florida election recount.

References

Notes


# Ibid.
# Rado, Diane. " Harris backed bill aiding Riscorp." "St. Petersburg Times". August 25, 1998. [http://www.sptimes.com/State/82598/Harris_backed_bill_ai.html]
# "Mid-career Master in Public Administration." John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 2005. [http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/programs/mpa/mpamc/]
# Tapper, Jake. "The woman under fire." "Salon". November 13, 2000. [http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/11/13/harris/]
# Ibid.

Noted on Family Guy

External links

*CongLinks|congbio=H001035
* [http://www.RecountMovie.com Recount Movie]
* [http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/allcontrib.asp?CID=N00024882 Top contributors] at opensecrets.org
* [http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000923.html Cox and Forkum cartoon dealing with U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris' Theocon tendencies]
* [http://wonkette.com/politics/katherine-harris/katherine-harris-prays-for-the-realignment-of-the-chosen-people-212673.php Audio of Katherine Harris' controversial October 3, 2006 prayer call]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/30/AR2006103001311_pf.html Profile piece at Washington Post]

Persondata
NAME=Harris, Katherine
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=U.S. politician
DATE OF BIRTH=April 5, 1957
PLACE OF BIRTH=Key West, Florida, United States
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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