Thursday, March 09, 2006

Katherine Harris to Stay in Senate Race

When Congresswoman Harris (see photo) finally made her announcement, it was, in fact, to dispel the rumors that she was abandoning her campaign for U.S. Senate.

After all the talk about the dropping out and the early pressure exerted on Rep. Harris not to run, it is safe to say that she is in this race for the long haul.

Many Republicans will be unsure what to think about her decision.

On one hand, her unpopularity with independents and moderates could affect the ability of down ticket GOP candidates to woo those voters - as well as the likelihood that she will inspire the Democratic base to turnout, with no comparable influence on the Republican base.

On the other hand, the Republicans simply lacked for a credible candidate to replace her on the ticket. While there has been a lot of talk about either Gallagher or Crist dropping out of the governor's race to run for Senate, that would be perceived as an admission that they could not win their own primary, discouraging donors and activists from flocking to their banner and neither wants to give up a race for an open Governor's Mansion to run against a well financed incumbent. The other talk has swirled about Republicans like Senate President Tom Lee or U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, but those are not credible either. Foley made some noises earlier in the election cycle, but never acted and his moment has passed. Lee, who is running for CFO, would have the same trouble as either Gallagher or Crist, but without either of those individuals statewide name recognition.

Republicans, meet your nominee.


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