Joe Scarborough Weighing Senate Run
As reported yesterday, former U.S. Representative and current talk show host Joe Scarborough has been approached to run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2006. He is apparently seriously considering doing so.
Congressman turned political talk show host Joe Scarborough has a choice to make: renew his contract with NBC or challenge Katherine Harris for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Scarborough said Wednesday that he has already talked with Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and plans to meet with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and White House officials next week about whether to get into the race to unseat Democrat Bill Nelson.
“I’ve told everybody I’ll keep an open mind. I’m happy with NBC, NBC is happy with me. They’ve offered me a new contract. That’s sitting on the table,” Scarborough said.
Scarborough, who spent seven years in Congress, said Republican leaders are concerned about Harris’ electability because of the role she played in the 2000 presidential recount. She was Florida’s secretary of state then, and Democrats say she fought recounts that could have jeopardized President Bush’s 537-vote victory. “Everybody I’ve talked to in the party likes her personally, it’s just the numbers. You look at any public poll and the numbers are not positive for her simply because she’s identified with the dustup in 2000,” Scarborough said.
Harris began her campaign last week. Her political strategist, Adam Goodman, said Wednesday: “We think ultimately, whether we have a primary or not, Katherine will be the nominee and the party will unite behind the nominee.” Harris’ strength in the Republican primary is her ability to raise money, her name recognition and her popularity among party activists.
Scarborough would have some of the same strengths. “You go into their homes every night about 300 times a year for an hour, that tends to help your name ID across the state and the country,” Scarborough said.
Scarborough, 41, resigned from Congress four years ago to spend more time with his sons. One son heads to college this fall, the other is 14, and Scarborough said they and his wife ultimately have veto power over his decision. Since he left Congress, Scarborough has been a conservative voice on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” and has hosted a radio show. “There is certainly nothing romantic about being a congressman or a senator,” he said Wednesday. “The price of admission is being kicked around every day.”
Getting the Republican nomination is nice but winning the election is the goal. Harris is not the ninny she was portrayed as during the 2000 “dustup” but she is permanently damaged from that ordeal. Scarborough is probably a better general election candidate but, as I noted yesterday, has a long video/audio trail owing to his current vocation.