Katherine Harris moves toward a congressional run

The Florida secretary of state expresses interest in a House seat in a Washington Times interview.

Published July 2, 2001 6:14PM (EDT)

Big buzz

Every party must be stocked with poster children for their opponents -- Democratic faces that will appear on Republican fundraising letters and vice versa.

And if news reports from the last week are to be believed, the folks at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will have a brand-new mug to slap across their mail this campaign season. The conservative with the Florida connections, Bill Sammon, reports in Monday's Washington Times that the world's best known mid-level elected official, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, is "seriously interested" in running for Congress next year.

The seat in question is a safe GOP seat in Florida's 13th Congressional District, which includes her hometown of Sarasota, Fla.

"I am seriously considering the congressional seat, because of the issues that I care about," Harris said. "And it will give me a chance to go home. I love Sarasota. My husband is there and I still go home weekends, so it will be great to get back," Harris tells Sammon.

Harris sat down with Sammon in an apparent effort to begin the campaign narrative, including "revealing that she initially expressed reservations about lending her name to George W. Bush's presidential campaign last year, but she acquiesced after being assured it would not constitute a conflict of interest," Sammon writes.

"I mean, I thought: 'Gee, I'm chief elections officer,'" she said. "And you know what the response was? They said, 'We're just going to use your name on letterhead. You're going to be one of eight - what's the big deal? Every single Cabinet member has done this forever.'"

But that doesn't mean Harris is repenting for what Democrats label her sins in Florida. "I don't have any regrets, and I don't have any apologies," she said. "There's simply nothing I could have done differently had Vice President Al Gore been leading. I can sleep very well at night and live with myself."

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By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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