Tomorrow Is Another Campaign
Published: March 18, 2006
Not since Scarlett O'Hara vowed to save Tara has an embattled Southern belle portrayed herself with such pathos. "I'm going to put everything on the line," vowed Congresswoman Katherine Harris, announcing on national television her plans to spend $10 million from a personal inheritance to try to save her floundering Senate campaign. "Everything," Ms. Harris said, choking back tears. "Not just my career and my future, but my father's name."
Her announcement on the "Hannity & Colmes" show — when many political watchers had thought she would quit — guaranteed Ms. Harris, the Florida Republican, a fresh dollop of the celebrity and notoriety that made her a household name during the 2000 presidential recount. As the revered and vilified state official in charge of certifying the disputed vote in Florida, Ms. Harris re-energized her own political career and eventually won a seat in Congress. Her race this year against Senator Bill Nelson, an incumbent Democrat, has been a mesmerizing mix of ambition and melodrama.
Ms. Harris's fellow Florida Republicans, noting her dismal poll ratings, sound no less scathing than the Democrats in wishing she would go away. "Katherine Harris moves in ways so mysterious that the designs of the creator seem transparent by comparison," one G.O.P. consultant said. But it may be premature to count her out. After all, others have spent more than $10 million from a personal fortune to secure a Senate seat. And others have overcome such negatives as a campaign fund investigation for having had dinner with an influence-shopping contributor who turned out to be corrupt. Stranger things have happened in American politics. Alas.