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Harris wins House seat in Florida, CNN projects

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) -- Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris defeated Democratic attorney Jan Schneider on Tuesday in the race for the state's 13th Congressional District seat, CNN projected.

Harris burst onto the national stage in 2000 while presiding over the state's presidential election fiasco. The heavily Republican 13th District was tailor-made for Harris, and she handily beat a primary rival. She also has built a resume as a GOP fund-raiser, appearing at dozens of events for House candidates across the country this year.

In the 5th District, Republican Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite defeated Rep. Karen Thurman, a Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, CNN projected.

Republicans who ran Florida's redistricting last year were hoping to exact revenge on Thurman, who headed the state Senate redistricting committee in 1991 that drew a Democratic-friendly congressional map that included a district in central Florida for herself.

This year, the GOP-controlled state Legislature drew a map that removed Thurman's heavily Democratic base in Gainesville and added the more conservative retiree areas of Pasco, Hernando and Lake counties. In the old district, Vice President Al Gore beat George W. Bush 50 percent to 46 percent in 2000, but under the new lines, Bush would have won 53 percent to 45 percent.

Brown-Waite, the state Senate president pro-tem, had a large hand in redrawing congressional districts. She also was widely known in the new district and kept even with Thurman in fund raising -- a particularly impressive feat considering Thurman is a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Another race featuring key figures from the Florida presidential election was in the state's 24th District, where state House Speaker Tom Feeney, a Republican, defeated Democrat Harry Jacobs, an elections attorney, CNN projected.

Feeney led a drive in the Statehouse to name electors for then-candidate George W. Bush before he was officially certified the winner over Al Gore. Jacobs brought the party's lawsuit against Seminole County Republicans for counting absentee ballots that had been handled improperly.

The other race with figures from the 2000 election drama was in the Fort Lauderdale-based 22nd District, where Palm Beach County Commissioner Carol Roberts, who demanded a hand recount of disputed "butterfly ballots" in her county, challenged GOP Rep. Clay Shaw. Shaw defeated Roberts in the newly drawn, GOP-leaning district, CNN projected.

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