The Collateral Damage of a Harris Defeat

A couple days ago, Reader JS wrote in with this observation:

It looks to be a given that [Rep. Katherine] Harris [(R-FL)] will (a) get the [GOP Senate] nomination; and (b) lose big. But I haven’t seen any speculation on whether she will be a drag on Republican chances in Congressional races in FL.

An interesting observation, I thought. What do the experts think? I checked around, and it turns out JS was on to something. Harris’ tenacity is perilous for at least one GOP House candidate in Florida.

Here’s what I learned: as a Senate candidate, Harris is poised to ride near the top of the Florida Republican ticket. Unfortunately, she’s expected to boost turnout statewide by Democrats eager to vote against her — and she’s thought to have the reverse effect on Florida Republicans, who seem increasingly concerned about sending this erratic, scandal-tainted character back to Washington, lest she provide a bigger embarrassment to their party.

Most Florida races are all but locked up. But one — ironically, Palm Beach County’s 22nd District — is neck-and-neck. And the GOP incumbent, Clay Shaw Jr., is said to be deeply concerned about the political price he may pay for Harris’ candidacy. (“So Shaw’s really biting his nails over this?” I asked one professional election-watcher. “To the bone,” she replied.)

A Democratic victory in the FL-22 race, by the way, is thought by some to be key to the party’s takeover of the House.

Update: An earlier version of this post was written under the delusion there was no FL governor’s race this year.

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