HBO Films


Laura Dern

as Katherine Harris

Character Bio

In the Film
Florida's Secretary of State (elected in 1998) during the presidential election in 2000

Harris, from one of Florida's most prominent families, graduated from Bartow High School in 1975, spent a year in Spain's University of Madrid and received her BA in history from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia in 1979. She entered politics in 1994 by winning a seat in the Florida Senate and earned her Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government (with a concentration in International Trade) in 1997. In 1999, she was named co-chair of George W. Bush's Florida campaign.

Prior to the 2000 election, she authorized the distribution of a list of names, supplied by Database Technologies, a private firm, of possible felons registered to vote in Florida. Her office recommended that Florida counties use this list to identify those who should be denied the right to vote, despite indications from the company that the list contained many inaccuracies.

After the Recount
Katherine Harris continued to serve as Florida's Secretary of State until 2002, at which point she ran for and won the House of Representatives seat vacated by Republican Representative Dan Miller. She held that Congressional seat from 2003-2007. In 2006 she ran for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, in spite of a lack of support - and even opposition - from the Republican establishment (including Governor Jeb Bush, White House advisor Karl Rove and the Florida state Republican party). She lost.