Harris pulls out cash to fix house

Published July 15, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Katherine Harris gave her campaign more than $3-million to run for Senate, but then took back $100,000 to finish renovating her "historic home in Washington, D.C.," her campaign revealed Friday.

The campaign said the Republican congresswoman would sell the house, if necessary, to fund her effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

The decision was immediately questioned.

"I have never heard of a candidate taking money out of a campaign coffer like it's an ATM. It absolutely boggles my mind," said former Harris campaign manager Jim Dornan.

"You don't take your campaign contributors' money, whether it's yours or not, and spend it to renovate your house," he added.

Harris repaid some of the money she already gave the campaign, according to a campaign press release detailing fundraising for the three months ending June 30.

Nelson's campaign manager, Chad Clanton, called it "another bizarre chapter in the Katherine Harris campaign."

The campaign said Harris raised $1.1-million in donations during the quarter and has $2.6-million remaining in her campaign account.

Nelson raised $2.5-million in the same quarter and has $12.1-million remaining in his account.

Harris trails Nelson by more than 30 points in most polls.