Joe Scarborough Asked to Challenge Katherine Harris

An effort is reportedly underway to persuade Joe Scarborough to run for the Senate in 2006 against Katherine Harris.

Report: Fla. GOP Courts Joe Scarborough (AP)

Two local businessmen active in Republican Party politics say the GOP is courting cable TV host Joe Scarborough to replace U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris in the 2006 Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. Scarborough, a former U.S. representative, has met with senior Republican officials, Collier Merrill, a Pensacola businessman told the Pensacola News Journal in a report for Wednesday’s editions. The other businessman, Eric Nickelsen, said he had contacted Scarborough and encouraged him to run, and he corroborated that other party leaders wanted the cable talk show host to challenge Harris.

Scarborough declined to comment late Tuesday. He was sent to Congress four times from the Pensacola area, beginning in 1994.

Some polls have shown Harris lagging behind Nelson. But Harris’s campaign manager, Jim Dornan, said Harris has no plans to step out of the race. Harris is best known for her role as Florida’s then-secretary of state during the 2000 presidential recount.

Scarborough may indeed be a more formidable candidate than Harris. He’s rather genial and does not have the baggage with which the 2000 race has left Harris saddled. Nelson will be difficult to unseat in any case and having a very polarizing candidate who has difficulty appealing to moderates would make it even harder.

Of course, Scarborough has a problem of his own: a huge transcript trail from his television and radio programs. The ability to take embarrassing off-the-cuff remarks, even out of context, and air them in television or radio spots is likely endless.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Burgess says:

    If that’s the best the Rep. Party can do, then I may be abstaining.

  2. Bachbone says:

    Harris gets my donations. If I could vote for her, she’d get that, too. Hmmm, were she running in Chicago, maybe I COULD vote for her no matter where I live.

  3. James & Shirley Ball says:

    Joe Scarborough,
    What a deli-ma We would be glad to vote for you in
    any race coming up.. WE would also want to vote for Katherine, her valiant fight to protect her lawful duty in Fla even to the point of personal attacks on her make up, dress and money, well she made us proud of her in that pres. race. It
    would probably be best to take advantage of your
    experience. bit we fee; we meed you where your at. JIM & Shirley Denver, Colo