The Harris Scenario in the Florida Senate Race

Harris turns eyes toward Senate suggests that if Katherine Harris runs for the GOP senate nomination and gets it, her presence on the ticket will energize Democratic voters. There's a lot to that. Being as amazingly inept as she is, she may turn off Republicans too.

But there is a scenario in which she gets elected. It goes like this: the primaries don't have run-offs — whoever gets the most votes wins. The Democratic primary is going to be crowded, and may become ethnicized, with votes split up between one Hispanic (Miami's own, tarnished, Alex Penelas), one Jewish candidate, Rep. Peter Deutsch, one Afro-American, Rep. Alcee Hastings, and several Anglos. If either Penelas or Hastings were to win the nomination, Harris might win the general election.

Hasting's negatives are being Black, unabashedly liberal, and too smart. I've met him. Boy, is he smart. Very, very impressive, but I don't think that will play well upstate.

Penelas's negatives are complex, and not strictly racial: he's widely considered to have sabotaged the Gore campaign in 2000, and there are also allegations of fundraising irregularities. Worst of all, from the point of view of a state-wide election, Penelas said he would not support the operation of the ordinary legal process in the Elian affair.

Just from an electablity perspective, Harris would be an awful candidate for the Republicans, yes. But, don't underestimate the Florida Democrats' ability to nominate an even less electable candidate.

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One Response to The Harris Scenario in the Florida Senate Race

  1. Paul Wolfson says:

    Well, Hastings does have a few other negatives — including the fact that he was impeached and removed from ihs position as a federal judge! Yes, to be sure, that was after he was acquitted of a federal crime, and to be sure people are pretty divided over whether that whole effort was fishy, or whether (as many suspect), the process of acquitting Hastings was fishy…but even unabashed liberals might not come out to support Rep. Hastings.

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