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Katherine Harris' Journey Continues

When last we checked in on Katherine Harris she had just "set the controls of her campaign for the center of the sun" by pledging to spend $10 million of her own money to stay in the race. Looks like she's right on course.

On Friday afternoon the five remaining members of her Senate campaign staff walked out the door - including strategist Ed Rollins and campaign manager Jamie Miller - leaving her with an empty office and, according to one anonymous source, about $200,000 in the bank. "It's not a good day when the entire campaign staff leaves," said Republican fundraiser and lobbyist Justin Sayfie quoted in the Miami Herald, "That's not something I've ever heard of happening before. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens in the coming days.''

True to form, Harris fired off an email Saturday evening saying that she had already lined up new personnel and that "We are stronger as a campaign today than we were yesterday." Riiiight.

Harris anounced the names of her new staff Tuesday. Yesterday the Miami Herald reported that she "quietly" deposited $3 million into her campaign account last week, which the Herald plays up as far short of her $10 million pledge. (Harris' new spokesperson said she'll meet the $10 million number by election day).

The money, the shake up, none of it is going to matter. Zogby is out with a new poll yesterday showing Harris trailing Nelson by 12 points. Strategic Vision released a poll last week (in the field at the same time as Zogby's) showing Harris down twenty-eight to Nelson (56-28) with an unfavorable rating of 52%. As USF political science professor Darryl Paulson said a couple of weeks ago when Harris anounced her pledge: "Her [Harris'] image is so chiseled in stone in such a negative way that even though she's pumping in $10 million of her own money, much of that is going to have to be used to create a positive image of her and $10 million isn't going to be enough."

If Harris had half the loyalty to the Republican party that Tom DeLay has, she'd bail out today and try to enlist the support of someone who could be competitive against a very beatable incumbent in Bill Nelson. Republicans can still hold out hope that someone will step up before the May 12 filing deadline to challenge Harris in the primary, but if Harris isn't willing to step aside then an expensive, bruising primary is going to leave someone like Rep. Mark Foley in a really bad position against Nelson even if he prevails against Harris. The dream scenario, of course, is that an 800-lb gorilla like Gov. Jeb Bush or Gen. Tommy Franks gets in and makes it totally hopeless for Harris to continue. At this point that looks unlikely, so Harris will continue her journey - much to the chagrin of many in the GOP.