Harris Ready for U.S. Senate Run in '06, Facing Mixed Reaction

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Congresswoman Katherine Harris has her eyes set on U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s post, but it’s obvious that top Republicans such as Gov. Jeb Bush are less than enthusiastic about her.

“I was asked to look for a candidate when there wasn’t one, and as of today there is one. Now my job is done. I hope Katherine Harris will run a strong race. She’ll be a strong candidate,” says Bush.

Katherine Harris became the poster child for the 2000 presidential election in Florida. Her role as secretary of state may have helped her win a seat in Congress, but Democratic Party officials say they aren’t especially concerned about her chances of beating Sen. Bill Nelson.

Karen Thurman, Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, says, “It’s interesting that, at this point, she doesn’t have her party’s enthusiasm, which is obviously the opposite on our end of it.”

Republicans know how polarizing Katherine Harris is. People seem to love her or they hate her. Still, Republican party officials are standing firmly behind her.

Carol Jean Jordan, Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, says, “The Republican Party of Florida is excited about Katherine Harris. She’s a hard worker. She’s serious about Florida.”

Jordan says as far as she knows, Republicans have stopped looking for other possible candidates.

Congresswoman Harris has scheduled a listening tour to kick off her campaign. This week she'll be in Tampa, Jacksonville and Palm Beach before winding up the tour in Miami on Saturday.