Harris Says She'll Stay in Florida Senate Race

Orlando Sentinel

Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) used a national television audience Wednesday night to try to jump-start her faltering Senate campaign, announcing that she would pour $10 million of her own money into the race.

Harris' appearance on the Fox News program "Hannity & Colmes" capped weeks of speculation about whether she would drop out of the race against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) because of problems with fundraising and staff turnover.

Harris -- not a popular choice among Republican leaders, who tried to recruit other candidates -- kept her decision mostly to herself until Wednesday night.

"I'm in this race. I'm going to win," Harris said. "I'm going to put everything on the line ... everything that I have, and I am going to put it in this race."

The $10 million will come from an inheritance from her father, she said, who died this year.

Political analysts had differing views Wednesday on whether an infusion of her own wealth would change the dynamics of the race. She has lagged far behind Nelson in the polls (20 points in the most recent survey, hours before her announcement) and has come under fire for taking tainted money from a defense contractor who pleaded guilty to bribing Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe).

"I'm convinced her campaign is mortally wounded," said Jim Kane, a pollster for the nonpartisan Florida Voter. Harris is a "very polarizing figure," he said, running against a popular opponent who appeals to independent voters.

Her role as Florida's secretary of state during the controversial 2000 presidential recount might help her with Republicans, but GOP insiders say it also could motivate Democrats to turn out in high numbers to vote against her.

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