Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Katherine Harris wins...God help us

Please forgive my pessimism, but go ahead and pencil in Dem Senator Bill Nelson's re-election this November. From the AP:
U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris overcame a campaign ridiculed even by her own party to easily claim the GOP nomination for the Senate on Tuesday, and Rep. Jim Davis held a narrow lead in the race for the Democratic nomination to succeed popular Gov. Jeb Bush.

Harris next faces an uphill battle against the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Bill Nelson, who had no primary challenger.
Harris had 50 percent of the vote against three relative unknowns. Attorney Will McBride ran second at 30 percent, and retired Navy admiral LeRoy Collins had 15 percent.

As Florida secretary of state six years ago, Harris oversaw the recount that gave George W. Bush the White House. She became a rising star in the Republican Party, parlaying name recognition into two terms in Congress.

But state GOP leaders tried to talk Harris out of running for the Senate, citing fears she would lose to Nelson while spurring a large November turnout by Democrats, which would hurt the entire Republican ticket.

Harris' campaign for the nomination was widely derided as spectacularly inept. Fundraising lagged, prompting her to pledge $10 million of her own money. Her makeup, clothes and personality were mocked on national TV. She was linked to a corrupt defense contractor. And staff members kept quitting in frustration.

Still, she won comfortably, thanks to weak opposition and a strong base of Republicans who loved her because of her role in the recount furor.
I think the personal attacks on her were shameful, but as a realist, I know that her chances of attracting Dem and independent crossover votes (which are usually crucial to winning statewide in FL) are slim. That's too bad, because Nelson isn't all that popular. Still, the state GOP ought to be ashamed of itself for not being able to find a strong Republican in this big state of ours.