Tuesday October 2 10:30 AM ET
Katherine Harris to Run for Congress
By VICKIE CHACHERE, Associated Press Writer
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who hit the national spotlight during last fall's presidential election recount, announced Tuesday she is running for Congress.
``In light of the recent tragedy, I am more committed than ever to serving the president and our nation,'' the Republican said in a statement. ``As a nation we have united to overcome this challenge, and the bonds of our courage and strength to do what is right inspires us to succeed.''
Harris, 44, wants to replace Republican Dan Miller, who represents the 13th congressional district that encompasses her hometown of Sarasota. Miller said he plans to retire when his fifth term ends next year.
Harris' only announced opponent is Republican Chester Flake, a 27-year-old computer consultant making his first try for political office.
Flake had said earlier that he intended to ask Harris to step down as secretary of state if she ran for Congress.
``It's a tremendous conflict of interest,'' Flake said, noting that the secretary of state's office oversees Florida elections.
Harris became well known during the five-week recount that sent George W. Bush to the White House. She became a favorite target of Democrats and took a drubbing in the media, but won praise from Republicans for her handling of the recount. She also helped push through a $32 million election reform package to quiet critics.
More recently, she has been under scrutiny for her office's international travel.
Last week, Harris fired her inspector general and her office was criticized in a state audit that said her employees sometimes flew business- or first-class to foreign cities rather than the less expensive coach, violating state travel regulations.
Sarasota County Republican Party Chairman Tramm Hudson said Harris should win the heavily Republican district easily, even though she will be a political target.
``She may be used as a poster child to raise money for other Democratic congressional candidates,'' Hudson said. ``But in the 13th Congressional district, the Democrats would be hard pressed to find a legitimate opponent'' for her.
A former Democrat who became a Republican in 1986, Harris cannot seek re-election as secretary of state because voters decided to make it an appointed office when her current term ends in January 2003.
And yes, this is a mock of Superfly's post.