August 4, 2005

WALKOVER:

Bense bows out in race against Harris (STEPHEN MAJORS, 8/04/05, Miami Herald)

Florida House Speaker Allan Bense said Wednesday he won't run for the U.S. Senate in 2006, leaving U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris alone for now in her quest to defeat incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

Despite strong encouragement from the White House and Gov. Jeb Bush, Bense said his commitment to the speaker's job came before a consuming Senate race.


Worse news for Bill Nelson than the Bush brothers.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2005 9:51 AM
Comments

Rove is not omniscient, as this situation shows. They need to buck up and get behind her 110%.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 4, 2005 12:14 PM

Agree. From postings elsewhere it seems it will take a strong GOP party backing and a very solid campaign from Harris to have a chance at beating Nelson.

Posted by: AWW at August 4, 2005 1:20 PM

Harris will run somewhere between 3-5 points behind the GOP total in Florida. She is a lightning rod for Democrat opposition and they will pull out all the stops to defeat her. If she loses and Senator Byrd loses in the same evening, the MSM headline will read 'Key Bush Ally Loses Senate Seat in Florida.'

Her electoral record in Congressional races does not inspire confidence. Her record as a down-ballot statewide candidate is an irrelevance.

Posted by: bart at August 4, 2005 1:44 PM

I seem to remember that the national activists pulled out all the stops to defeat Jeb and replace him with Janet Reno.
Nevertheless, the GOP should field the strongest candidate possible. I don't follow Florida politics closely enough to suggest a better candidate than Harris.

Posted by: ed at August 4, 2005 2:17 PM

It's a Republican state.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2005 2:24 PM

Jeb was easily re-elected against a reasonably strong Democrat, with Terry MacAuliffe barking at him for all of 2002. Janet Reno's almost primary victory was a tremendous sign of weakness (for the Dems) in such a big state, practically the equivalent of James Watt almost winning a GOP primary in CA.

It will be a tough race, but I doubt if Harris runs 'behind' the GOP.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 4, 2005 2:39 PM

I'm not saying Harris can't win, just that she has to run a strong race and the GOP has to get behind her with money and grassroots support (which they don't appear to be doing now).

Posted by: AWW at August 4, 2005 3:17 PM

In early August '05.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2005 3:20 PM

McBride was a weak candidate produced by a divided party and Bush's margin was not awe-inspiring, 56-43. It was McBride's first run for office and he was a slimy trial lawyer(redundant) from South Florida who ticked off the womyn by defeating their hand-picked mutation, ahem candidate.

By contrast, Nelsen is the candidate of a unified Democratic Party. He is an experienced statewide top-of-the-ballot campaigner and victor. Harris will be a lightning rod for Democratic opposition. Her electoral record is not stellar. It is an off-year election in the 2d term of a President's time in office. All the intangibles go against her.

But at least there's an additional Harris vote moving down there before 11/06, two if they let me register George.

Posted by: bart at August 4, 2005 3:33 PM

Bart:

Wouldn't you agree that the Republican candidate for governor is likely to win by, say, 400,000 votes? That can only help Harris. Nelson is not an easy target, like Erskine Bowles, but he will have to run hard as well.

The intangibles favor Harris (passion, ambition); the practicalities don't. The Democrats may hate her, but that has only blinded them in the past 5 years (as in Jeb's re-election, and then the Presidential race last year). It hasn't helped them win.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 4, 2005 4:21 PM

if boxer and murray can be senators then certainly there is room for harris.

Posted by: cjm at August 4, 2005 4:59 PM

Don't forget Cantwell. And Florida once gave us Paula Hawkins.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 4, 2005 5:09 PM

I'm not saying Harris can't win, just that she has to run a strong race and the GOP has to get behind her with money and grassroots support (which they don't appear to be doing now).

Harris' dad was Ben Hill Griffin. She has all the money she needs.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 4, 2005 10:44 PM
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