…now's the time to double down. The endless soap opera that is Rep. Harris (R-FL)'s career has reached another plot point: With the revelation of a minor-league Duke Cunningham situation, her U.S. Senate campaign against Bill Nelson is in trouble once again. Mitchell Wade, Cunningham's one-time paymaster, contributed $32,000 to Harris' campaign under fake names; it's not necessarily the case that Harris knew the source of these contributions, but it's certainly suspicious that she tried to get $10 million in budget earmarks to benefit Wade's company MZM, and that one of her staffers ended up taking a job with Wade. It's another up-and-down surprise for the candidate who just last month seemed to have quieted opposition from Bush family ingrates and locked up the Republican nomination; and true to her drama queen pattern, Harris has left us with a cliffhanger: She'll be making a "major announcement next week concerning [her] candidacy." We can only hope that the announcement will come at a blowout gathering of the Florida GOP, the Bush family, the Ewings, and the Carringtons, and will include at least one cocktail tossed in some cad's face and several poolside catfights.
What will happen next for the GOP's now-longshot campaign to unseat the weak Nelson is up in the air. Florida House Speaker Allan Bense, once the leading challenger to Harris' ambitions, has made no comment, while U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fort Pierce) mixes a pro-forma statement of support with the announcement that he'll take the job if Harris drops out. I'm saddened, though entertained, to see the anti-heroine of the 2000 election in trouble again. I always thought there was a heavy helping of misogyny (which I realize I've engaged in in the previous paragraph) in the attacks on Harris' physical appearance, and I'll always have a soft spot for any candidate who can deliver a good drunken victory speech.