Profile: She’s giving folks who are sick of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz reasons to cheer

posted at 5:30 pm on November 13, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Meet Karen Harrington, the Republican challenger who, in 2010, nearly beat Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a 2:1 Democratic district. Accustomed to comfortable margins of victory, Wasserman Schultz was surprised a year ago when Harrington pulled in nearly 40 percent of the vote. Debbie Downer is liable to be still more surprised in 2012 because Harrington has mounted a second campaign against the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman — and she’s ready to do definitively what she nearly did last time.

“We are more than sure we can win,” Harrington said yesterday in a private conversation at BlogCon2011.

When Harrington treks door to door through Florida’s 20th district, her potential constituents often ask two things: (1) Is she a politician? and (2) Is she a lawyer? Harrington is neither. Voters are happy to hear it. They’re even happier to hear what she is: a small-business owner, wife and mother of three children. She also happens to be a three-time cancer survivor — but that crops up in conversation only if an adroit question elicits it.

She’s lived in South Florida ever since her parents moved to the Sunshine State from Massachusetts in 1969 — and her family and she have been in business for themselves for almost as long — 37 years. Today, at the helm of three homestyle restaurants, she and her younger sister employ about 100 people. That means she knows firsthand how government helps or hinders the efforts of job creators.

Like so many conservatives, she grew concerned about the direction the country was headed after the 2008 elections — and, when she looked at her own Congresswoman, she saw a person who didn’t reflect her principles of hard work, free enterprise and a focus on family. So she searched for someone who might be able to successfully challenge DWS — and found that person in herself. She didn’t necessarily want to run — but she also didn’t want to have to tell her children someday that she could have done something to stem the growth of government and restore freedom to individuals and didn’t.

Competitive by nature, she invested herself completely in the 2010 race — and was strongly backed by her family. A week before the election, she was disappointed that she had to miss one of her then-13-year-old son’s baseball tournaments. As she took him to the airport, she apologized to him for it. Her son answered: “Mom, just beat her.”

That sentiment among her family — and in Harrington herself — remains unchanged. She’s undaunted by the outsized personality Wasserman Schultz brings to any race she enters.

“Debbie’s an unusual character,” Harrington says, “[but] I just have to be myself. I think that will resonate with voters. Most of all, Americans want the real thing. They’re looking for that honest, good American who’s not afraid to stand up to government or [her] own party.”

“Honest” isn’t necessarily the first adjective that comes to mind to describe Wasserman Schultz, who frequently unfoundedly maligns her political opponents. She’s been known to say, for example, that Republicans are anti-women. Harrington is living proof that the GOP is anything but.

Harrington also happens to have a warm relationship with Rep. Allen West, who notoriously called Debbie Wasserman Schultz “not a lady.” In contrast to his strong censure of DWS, West has expressed his eagerness to “lock shields and hold swords” with Harrington in the fight against big government. Harrington also snagged Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s former campaign manager to aid in her election effort.

Even with the backing of family, rising GOP stars and a solid base of supporters, though, Harrington hasn’t taken a bit of the campaign for granted, devoting long hours to the effort. As a restaurant owner, she’s used to working days, nights, weekends, holidays, whatever. She doesn’t drink coffee — she’s a true Southerner in that iced tea is her caffeinated beverage of choice — but she stays “up” with exercise. (To the embarrassment of her children, she says, she especially loves to dance.) Most importantly, she reminds herself repeatedly of  how much she loves her country and of how much she wants others to have the opportunity she had to achieve the American Dream.

“My passion is my love of my country, my love of the American Dream and opportunity and being able to give that to the next generation,” she said. “We are such an amazing, great, exceptional nation and, every day, I wake up and know how blessed we are to live here. Our opportunity is limitless — and the threat that someone is trying to take that away from us is upsetting. … I want to make sure that’s there for everybody. That’s what fuels me.”


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“Mom, just beat her.”

Yes, indeed!

Tina, post a link to her website. We may want to donate.

SouthernGent on November 13, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Florida’s 20th CD presidential voting

2008: Barack Obama 63 – John McCain 36%
2004 John Kerry 63 – George W. Bush 36%
2000 Al Gore 68 – George W. Bush 30%

I’m not holding my breath for this to be a Republican takeover anytime soon.

angryed on November 13, 2011 at 5:35 PM

http://www.karenforcongress.com/

heldmyw on November 13, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Oh goody, another person to vilify.

Scott H on November 13, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Obama might try to help the blabbermouth quite a bit this time. He really likes her smile.

JellyToast on November 13, 2011 at 5:39 PM

“Our opportunity is limitless — and the threat that someone is trying to take that away from us is upsetting. … I want to make sure that’s there for everybody. That’s what fuels me.”

The humanity! Surely this Pub has some type of racial test imbedded in that comment!

Limerick on November 13, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Hope her voice is not squeaky!

tinkerthinker on November 13, 2011 at 5:50 PM

I wish her well, but it’s wasted money. DWS is a locked winner in that district. The voters don’t care for her, but if she is the D candidate they will elect her.

FalseProfit on November 13, 2011 at 5:50 PM

She sounds just wonderful. Good luck to her!

gophergirl on November 13, 2011 at 5:59 PM

What I have yet to understand, how does DWS become the head of the DNC, yet remain a representative of all of her constituents? How can she effectively represent the Republicans in her district when she is out there vilifying the GOP on a daily basis? Why aren’t constituents asking for her resignation, for either of her positions?

herm2416 on November 13, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Karen Harrington, GOP Congressional Candidate
September 22 2011
********************
********************

Karen Harrington, GOP Congressional Candidate speaks with Sunshine State News at Presidency 5 in Orlando, Sept. 22. Credit Marcus Joseph

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw8GijEsLW0

Karen does sound wonderful,and gets it!

canopfor on November 13, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Nice story, hope she wins. Most likely not happening. Didn’t we hear about Barney Frank, Dingle, and Murtha being threatened as well?

arnold ziffel on November 13, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Though that district is and has been overwhelmingly dem, don’t rule her out just yet. Last time was 40% of the vote? That’s pretty dam* respectable and keep in mind there are far more people in her district in “pain” this cycle than last. She won’t win the “free loader” dem vote but she may pick up the dems with actual jobs and families that still have some common sense. (granted a dwindling breed-dems with common sense)

Tim Zank on November 13, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Karen Harrington Tears Into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
July 24 2011
(Video-5:22Min)
*****************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tkPrwIqUmM&feature=related

canopfor on November 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

We really need to focus on the congressional elections because I fear our presidential candidate and hopeful winner may disappoint us without strong pressure from Congress.

Iblis on November 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

OT – Tina, have you seen this? Chapel Hill police get it right!
OccupyAssaultRifles!

bloggless on November 13, 2011 at 6:16 PM

“We are more than sure we can win,” Harrington said yesterday in a private conversation at BlogCon2011.
=====================================

Karen Harrington at #BlogCon11
November 12 2011
****************
****************
(Video-2:42Min)

Republican Congressional candidate Karen Harrington, who is running in Florida’s 20th District (currently held by Debbie Wasserman Schultz), sat down for an interview at BlogCon11 in Denver.
=======

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9NnB4snM0U

canopfor on November 13, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Fire Debbie
=============

http://www.firedebbie.com/?p=1

Karen Harrington for US Congress
*********************************

http://www.karenforcongress.com/home

canopfor on November 13, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Sounds like an awesome lady. Best of luck to her this next time around. With all of the re-districting here, not sure if our rocket scientist is going to run against Grajalva again or not.

AZfederalist on November 13, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Another Conservative Women,ready for Political War,
inspiring and refreshing!!

canopfor on November 13, 2011 at 6:23 PM

She lost to Debbie Downer in 2010, but we expect her to win in 2012 in a 2:1 Dem district when turnout is greater and Obama is on the ticket? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Caiwyn on November 13, 2011 at 6:23 PM

angryed on November 13, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Yup. No way in hell she makes us that much ground in 2012… unless DWS makes some colossal mistake… which would have to be earth-shatteringly huge.

mankai on November 13, 2011 at 6:24 PM

I’m not holding my breath for this to be a Republican takeover anytime soon.

angryed on November 13, 2011 at 5:35 PM

I think Katy the mean old lady might be able to lend some insight; I think she’s in Debbo’s district.

The Dems are totally fading here in FL. I’m not in Whatsherface’s district but can state, factually, that Floridians are not embracing socialism. Bill Nelson is finished.

Key West Reader on November 13, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Thank you heldmyw. I sent some money her way. Even if Karen loses (again), I’ll consider it money well spent.

liberty0 on November 13, 2011 at 6:31 PM

You go girl! That little d twinkie is nothing compaired to you. Best of luck to you.
L

letget on November 13, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Oh goody, another person to vilify.

Scott H on November 13, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Seriously. Any moment now, I expect the GOP establishment to rip her to shreds.

CurtZHP on November 13, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Oh goody, another person to vilify.

Scott H on November 13, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Seriously. Any moment now, I expect the GOP establishment to rip her to shreds.

CurtZHP on November 13, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Karl Rove, call your office.

fossten on November 13, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Karen, Where can we donate????!!!! Go Girl Go!

JustJP on November 13, 2011 at 6:54 PM

*Alert *

We’re supposed to watch 60 Minutes where Nanzi Pelosi will be destroyed, live, on the air.

Apparently insider trading charges DON’T apply to congress.

Harumph. Who’dathunkit?

/Rat Bastiges

Key West Reader on November 13, 2011 at 6:56 PM

As someone who lives in South Florida, although thankfully not is DWS’s district, I can’t believe she actually took on the DNC job. There appears to be a direct conflict with what’s best for the Democrats and what’s best for her district. I really don’t know how you can be an effective representive, for your district, while you malign all the people you want to compromise with you to get your way.

She’s lucky that, when she went after Allen West, he’s new to the political process. Saying she’s not a lady is understandable, saying that the district had a candidate who thought exactly like her and voted him out of office, would have been much, much better. The point is, she not only set herself up for that, she also maligned another Florida Congressman who she might want to partner with in the future, for legislation that will be good for Florida. Let’s be kind and say Debbie is not too astute.

I just might have to donate to Miss Harrington because Debbie will have access to a great deal of money.

bflat879 on November 13, 2011 at 6:59 PM

I’ll give this woman some of my hard earned. Go get ‘em!

crosspatch on November 13, 2011 at 7:12 PM

I can’t wish her well enough!

Debbie Downer out????

PRICELESS!

golfmann on November 13, 2011 at 7:17 PM

You would think that after Pelosi that the Dems would have learned to be a little more careful in selecting women who will be touted as the “first” in whatever position they have been selected for. Anyway, i wonder how long it will take for the Dems to find evidence that Harrington beats her children or some such.

pgrossjr on November 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Too bad they could not redistrict 22th and 20th in to one. West vs. DWS would be epic.

28th amendment no more gerrymandering, all CD are square.

tjexcite on November 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

But wise-hyphena Schultzie has that comely freakshow personality, attractiveness and outcast ethics of Zero’s Supreme Court nominees…

viking01 on November 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Depends on how many Dems in Blabbermouth-Schultz’s district are liberal Floridians, and how many are double-registered Yankees. If the latter, those guys are losing their Florida vacation homes and will probably be off the voting rolls by the next election in that district. If so, Harrington has a chance.

Sekhmet on November 13, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Speaking of that 60 minutes show, noticed how “balanced” they were in pointing out the fishy stock trades? One Dem, Pelosi, and the rest were all republicans? I would be willing to bet they had lots of transactions to choose from, equally from both parties and selected several R’s and only 1 D for their broadcast. 60 minutes sucks donkey balls.

karenhasfreedom on November 13, 2011 at 7:35 PM

this post doesnt have any pictures of the person its talking about nor links to any campaign site or other outlet info on the web, why?

Drunk Report on November 13, 2011 at 7:39 PM

had to google to find this: http://www.karenforcongress.com

Drunk Report on November 13, 2011 at 7:40 PM

But wise-hyphena Schultzie has that comely freakshow personality, attractiveness and outcast ethics of Zero’s Supreme Court nominees…

viking01 on November 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

You are aware that this is a drug free zone, aren’t you? Well?

No sober person could find Blabbermouth comely or attractive without intoxicants.

platypus on November 13, 2011 at 7:41 PM

60 minutes sucks donkey balls.

karenhasfreedom on November 13, 2011 at 7:35 PM

A little bit of mind bleach would be nice.

platypus on November 13, 2011 at 7:42 PM

platypus on November 13, 2011 at 7:41 PM

You don’t really need a sarcasm tag in that post of mine, do you?

viking01 on November 13, 2011 at 7:46 PM

You don’t really need a sarcasm tag in that post of mine, do you?

viking01 on November 13, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Of course not but I wanted to exploit the opportunity to say nasty things about Her Royal Nastiness. Thanks for the opening.

platypus on November 13, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Karen Harrington sounds like a fighter … exactly what we need against the Democrat Socialist Party. You don’t cede the seat just because the odds aren’t in your favor. Campaign hard with the right message and yeah, it is possible.

Start with the $15 Trillion in cosmic debt and keep hammering how the Dems have no worthy plan to reduce it. No handouts, programs, etc. will survive if USA doesn’t regain fiscal footing.

What a bunch of naysayers in this thread. Damn, people, come on. FIGHT for this country and show support for those willing to slug it out with Democrats, even the entrenched ones.

Hats off to Karen Harrington. She’ll get a donation from this Gasden operative, modest though it may be.

shades_of_gasden on November 13, 2011 at 7:53 PM

If she lost by 20 points in a year like 2010… don’t waste your money. She’s not going to gain that much ground with ads… the only hope is some MAJOR scandal for DWS.

Please send your money elsewhere.

mankai on November 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM

If she lost by 20 points in a year like 2010… don’t waste your money. She’s not going to gain that much ground with ads… the only hope is some MAJOR scandal for DWS.

Please send your money elsewhere.

mankai on November 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Don’t win unless you try. Just keep tawkin’ Deb

katy the mean old lady on November 13, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Got all excited there for a moment…thought the article was about a sane Democrat running against Wasserman.

Actually, I’m enjoying the current gridlock in DC. I have no immediate fears of Porkulus or Stimulus crap coming out from there.

Still, there’s always the quantitative easement garbage, but I’ve resigned myself to believe that none of these knuckleheads will ever do away with the Federal Rothschild Board.

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 13, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Debbie Downer is liable to be still more surprised in 2012 because Harrington has mounted a second campaign against the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman — and she’s ready to do definitively what she nearly did last time.

Harrington sounds like a great person and a fine candidate, but I think portraying 100,787votes/60.1% vs. 63,845votes/38.1% as “close” is a stretch. Good showing, but hardly a nailbiter.

whatcat on November 13, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Go Karen! If you can beat cancer, you can sure beat it again…er by that I mean Debbie.

ted c on November 13, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Harrington sounds like a great person and a fine candidate, but I think portraying 100,787votes/60.1% vs. 63,845votes/38.1% as “close” is a stretch. Good showing, but hardly a nailbiter.

whatcat on November 13, 2011 at 9:02 PM

In this district it’s a miracle. I’m going for Karen again.

katy the mean old lady on November 13, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Harrington sounds like a great person and a fine candidate, but I think portraying 100,787votes/60.1% vs. 63,845votes/38.1% as “close” is a stretch. Good showing, but hardly a nailbiter.
whatcat on November 13, 2011 at 9:02 PM

In this district it’s a miracle. I’m going for Karen again.
katy the mean old lady on November 13, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Like I said it’s a relatively good showing, but in my view the miracle would be in winning.

whatcat on November 13, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Wait…folks are sick of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? Now just how can that be?

ncborn on November 13, 2011 at 10:11 PM


I wish her well, but it’s wasted money. DWS is a locked winner in that district. The voters don’t care for her, but if she is the D candidate they will elect her.

And so the stupid survivors of Tel Aviv South have once again proved themselves unworthy and unwilling to learn the lessons of the past. They should have to line up again with patches of the Star of David again to show that they’re completely ignorant of tribalist voting habits?

Idiots..racists and tribalists. The race that prides themselves on tolerance…would like to see a black man like Alan West hung from a street lamp than vote for a conservative. Yet….these are the same people that have accounts with Goldman Sachs and like to profit from their investments….who would rather see a dope like DWS give it away to scum like the OWS?

DWS…is a silly, fraud and a tool of the commie Dems…she’d be the first to put them in boxcars again…so long as she didn’t have to take the same ride.

Twana on November 13, 2011 at 11:25 PM

It’s adorable that you people think the girl who lost by over 20% in 2010 “almost won”.

benny shakar on November 14, 2011 at 12:36 AM

Almost winning when DWS had 60% of the votes? Sorry, that moronic district of my state will always vote that way. They are a bunch of lemmings who blindly vote “D”.
Any “R” in that district should probably volunteer and give funds to the district next door, Allen West in 22nd. Better chances of reelection. PS, alot of 1%ers live in 22nd, it stretches the entire coast from North Palm Beach, through Donald Trump’s neighborhood and the Kennedy compound, south through the multimillion dollar mansions on the beaches. This district pays attention knows how business works and how jobs are created and how wealth is created, and it isn’t by voting in a “Dem”.

LadyGator88 on November 14, 2011 at 1:32 AM

Look. We have a representative government — sort of. This Republican candidate seems super nice and everything, but that district is LOADED with freeloaders, liars and scum which are Debbie’s people. She reflects them perfectly. She resonates with them. It’s an embarassment to the state of Florida, true. But at least we can look at their representative and know not to visit there. Wasserman is a soulless, gutless, lying POS but that is a demographic and it needs a representative at the table with a loud, annoying voice to set the example of how no one else wants to be.

BrideOfRove on November 14, 2011 at 7:31 AM

Well of course, since it’s so obvious this woman can’t win, why try?
After all, that’s the American way, right?
Give up when things look too hard.
Nothing to win in the fight, even if you lose.
Do I really need the sarc tag?
WTH is wrong with you whiners?
Sometimes you fight anyway, even if you KNOW you’re going to lose.
Make that DWS-beyotch fight.
Don’t give it to her on a silver platter.
I can see that if HA is a representative microcosm of America why we have such problems.
QUITTERS & WHINERS.
Geebus.
And God help us.

Badger40 on November 14, 2011 at 8:16 AM

I was told Ted kennedy’s seat was secure.

seven on November 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Anybody would be better than Debbie Whinerman Schnitz.

RebeccaH on November 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Today, at the helm of three homestyle restaurants, she and her younger sister employ about 100 people.

“Nice business ya’ got there, Karen. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”

Sincerely,

Andy Stern

GrannyDee on November 14, 2011 at 11:09 AM