Harris Has Three Opponents

Leroy Collins, Junior filed his paperwork shortly before the noon deadline Friday to qualify as a candidate for federal office.

The atmosphere was tense at the division of elections while people waited to see who would and wouldn’t run for office.

The state division of elections office was abuzz with activity as candidates rushed to file their paperwork before the noon cutoff.

Political operatives worked their Blackberries and their cell phones, trying to make sure there were no last-minute surprises.

The candidacy of Leroy Collins Junior is a bit of a surprise. The retired naval officer and Tampa businessman is challenging Katherine Harris in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. He’s also the son of respected former Democratic Governor Roy Collins.

"He would be very proud I think to see me doing something and of course I’ve never been in elective office before so this is my very first time."

Harris filed her paperwork earlier this week. She now knows she’ll face three opponents in the primary, Bay area developer Pete Monroe and Orlando attorney McBride as well as Collins.

Republican Belinda Noah chose to run unaffiliated to avoid the party infighting. "It does give me an advantage because I’m able to avoid the primary and go straight to the general election."

The energy level definitely picked up as it edged closer to the noon deadline with people piling in to qualify and see who was qualifying.

Qualifying for the federal, judicial, state attorney and public defenders offices in the 2006 elections has now closed. Now the fun starts as the race to November begins in earnest.