The Woman Behind Florida's Recount : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Running the Recount

GOP Loyalist Vows Fairness in Overseeing Florida Tally


Nov. 13 B Republican George W. Bush has a staunch ally in the woman overseeing the Florida recount, Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Katherine Harris has become a major player in the election.

Harris, who told county officials today that recounts in four Florida counties must be completed by 5 p.m. Tuesday, has been an active supporter of the Texas governor's bid for the presidency.

Along with several others, the 43-year-old Republican served as co-chair of the Bush campaign in Florida, and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia last July.

In January 2000, she went with Bush's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and others to campaign door-to-door for Bush in the New Hampshire primary.

Harris' office said she fully expected her decision to enforce the recount deadline would subject her to allegations of partisanship, but insisted the only matter at issue is the law.

"The electoral process is a balance between the desire of each individual voter to have his or her intended vote recorded and the right of the public to a clear, final result within a reasonable time," Harris said today.

On the Political Fast Track

Harris was elected secretary of state in 1998, following four years representing Sarasota in the Florida Senate, where she was chairwoman of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee. Harris holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University, but she had virtually no political experience prior to running for the state Senate.

Politics may be in her blood, however. Harris comes from one of Florida's most prominent and wealthy families, with close ties to the Republican party. She had been seen as a potential candidate for this year's U.S. Senate this year, in which Democrat Bill Nelson eventually defeated Republican Rep. Bill McCollum.

Harris will be Florida's last secretary of state. The position will be eliminated in 2002 under Constitution Revision No. 8.

Democrats have suggested that Harris may seek an ambassadorship or other appointment in a Bush administration.

Controversy of Her Own

Harris has firsthand experience with campaign controversy. During her tenure in the state Senate, she drew fire for her ties to Riscorp Insurance, which gave tens of thousands of dollars to her campaign. Five Riscorp executives were indicted on charges of making illegal contributions in 1997. A state investigation later cleared Harris and other politicians who said they didn't know the company had been soliciting employee donations and then illegally reimbursing them. Harris has also been criticized for spending more than $100,000 of state money for travel expenses since she took office B more than Gov. Jeb Bush.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), November 14, 2000


AP dug deep for an unflattering photo unless it is true that all Republican women look as severe as Jeanne Kirkpatrick.

-- (Paracelsus@Pb.Au), November 14, 2000.

She sort looks like my bunkie in the right kinda light.

-- Porky (Porky@in.cellblockD), November 14, 2000.

>> GOP Loyalist Vows Fairness in Overseeing Florida Tally <<

How reassuring. What really would have surprised me would be a headline like this:

GOP Loyalist Vows No Holds Barred Partisanship in Seizing Election

-- Brian McLaughlin (, November 14, 2000.


You might just mention, for the record, that the Florida attorney general who contested Harris' decision, and is now appealing the decision upholding it, just HAPPENS to have been GORE's campaign coordinator for Florida.

You could just as honestly say "Gore Loyalist Vows to Drag Presidency From Florida Courts, Whatever It Costs"

Why don't you?

-- Flint (, November 14, 2000.

Flint, my point was simply that what Harris says is no important. What she does is yet to be seen. Vowing to uphold "fairness" is the equivalent of coming out foresquare in favor of apple pie. It is politico-speak. It means nothing.

However, to please your delicate sensibilities, I will say that I would be equally surprised to see the headline:

Attorney General Vows to Crush Bush Bid And Ram Gore Into White House

-- Brian McLaughlin (, November 14, 2000.


While such wording would surprise me as well, this charade is now long past the point where the voters matter at all. Now we're into legal and political maneuvering, accompanied with LOTS of spin in all directions, and George Orwell must be laughing his ass off somewhere. Blatant bias is called "fairness", transparent statistical tricks are called "the will of the people", arbitrarily disallowing such tricks is called "acceding to the intent of the legislature", and trying desperately to pin the blame for everything you do on the other guy is called "making sure justice prevails."

And it all works, first because the followers of each side swallow everything their spokesmen say, however fatuous or absurd. And second because the American public has a political memory that makes a pot smoker look like an elephant.

I guess we need to appreciate it as "performance art" while it lasts, and be thankful it wasn't just a mundane rubber stamp election like most, boring and mechanical.

-- Flint (, November 14, 2000.

"performance art"

You said it, pal. She kept the American public waiting for over an hour this evening, while she had a makeover.

m@ry.kay), November 14, 2000.

Take my word for it.

It didn't work.

-- (m@ry.kay), November 14, 2000.

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