Underdog faces Katherine Harris in primary

July 1, 2002 at 2:15 PM

MIAMI, July 1 (UPI) -- A Sarasota man is entering a real underdog in the Sept. 10 Republican congressional primary against Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris as a protest of her role in the 2000 general election dispute.

The write-in candidate's name is Percy, and he's a border collie-German shepherd mix of undetermined age.

"No one has a realistic expectation that a dog can get elected," said owner Wayne Guentner. "But plenty of people will be willing to vote for a dog to represent their discontent with the political system."

Although the campaign is clearly labeled as a satirical parody, Guentner said 5 percent of the vote would be a victory for Percy.

Harris, Percy and six others are running for an open seat in a safe Republican district in Sarasota County.

Harris has raised $1.7 million, and analysts in both parties say there is almost no chance she can lose.

But still Percy continues to campaign. He has a Web site featuring a profile by campaign member Pam Marwede.

"Although he takes a hard line with social parasites, especially fleas and worms, he has always had a compassion for those less fortunate," the profile says. "Indeed Percy, too, was once homeless, a disadvantaged runaway."

Harris is playing along with the gag and says his bark is worse than his bite.

Campaign spokeswoman Jessica Furst says Percy "has a lot of paws to shake to catch up."

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