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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In case you're bored with the local theocrats.....

Just remember, we have Katherine Harris running for a US Senate seat in Florida. God help us.


Sunday, March 19, 2006
HARRIS puts her faith `on the line'


In her first major campaign swing since announcing that she would put $10 million into her U.S. Senate race, Katherine HARRIS got a morale boost from South Florida voters and preached the gospel to hundreds of evangelical Christians. The Republican congresswoman addressed the Reclaiming America For Christ conference in Fort Lauderdale, where speakers railed against homosexuality, abortion and the American Civil Liberties Union. The title of HARRIS' speech was `Bringing Faith to the Public Forum.'

'I can't imagine public service without faith,'' said HARRIS, amid stained glass windows and American flags. `I don't know how anyone could serve, absent that enormous strength.'

HARRIS said bringing faith to public service is putting 'everything on the line,' invoking the same phrase she used on national television Wednesday when she announced she was staying in the Senate race. Her declaration followed two weeks of speculation that she was abandoning her challenge to well-financed Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Her declarations of faith were met with a standing ovation in the church, but might make some more moderate, less religious voters squirm. She said she was raised in a 'godly family,' and talked about studying at L'Abri fellowship in Switzerland with evangelical Francis Schaeffer.

'I came to realize that my faith wasn't a portion of my life,' HARRIS said. `It was the main ingredient that should motivate every single word and act.'

After her speech, HARRIS was scheduled to meet with advocates of a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage in Florida. A petition drive to put the measure on the 2006 ballot failed to garner enough signatures, so organizers are aiming for 2008. In contrast to her on-screen image, HARRIS seemed down to earth at the 'grass fire' campaign events at La Carreta in Miami, TGI Friday's in Fort Lauderdale and a community center at a West Palm Beach park.

At the Fort Lauderdale restaurant, activists rushed over to clasp her hands and offer words of support.

'Broward County is ready to work hard for her,' said Maureen Jaeger, vice chairwoman of the local Republican party.

'She is going to have to win over voters, but she's one of the hardest campaigners out there,' Jaeger added.

Questions remain about whether HARRIS can overcome the issues of staff turnover, slow fundraising and lukewarm support from the state and national parties. She canceled a Tampa press conference scheduled for Friday and declined to speak to reporters after her speech at the church. She would have faced questions about her relationship with a defense contractor who pleaded guilty to giving her illegal campaign contributions. HARRIS has said she didn't know the donations were illegal, but she has not explained why she asked for $10 million in federal funding for Mitchell Wade's company after they dined together and a member of her staff left to work for him. Ed Kennedy, Broward's Republican state committeeman, said the party needs to quit worrying about whether HARRIS is too polarizing to win statewide because of political liabilities, like her role in the 2000 presidential recount.

'It's too late to have doubts. She's in,' Kennedy said. `Republicans are going to rally around her because we want that Senate seat.''