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Katherine Harris's campaign manager accused of petition fraud in Massachusetts

Published: Thursday August 3, 2006

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Embattled US Senate candidate Katherine Harris' (R-FL) fourth campaign manager, Bryan Rudnick, was accused of petition fraud while working for Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage, today's issue of ROLL CALL has reported.

The organization was founded to counter the success of lesbian and gay couples and sought signatures for a petition to force a statewide vote on amending the state's constitution to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. Citizens for Marriage was accused during the petition process of using 'bait and switch' tactics, in which petition signers were approached to sign popular petitions and are then tricked into signing the petition supporting the effort to place marriage equality on the state's ballot.

Excerpts from the registration restricted article follow...


If signatures of support are what she’s after, Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) has found the right guy to help her. Her new — fourth to be exact — campaign manager for her Senate bid, Bryan Rudnick, was involved in a petition controversy in Massachusetts in 2001.

Then, Rudnick was chairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage, which championed the Defense of Marriage act. His group was accused of tricking voters into signing its petitions for a proposed ban on gay marriage by asking voters to first sign a petition to protect horses from being killed and sold as food, then asking them to sign a second time, on a petition to ban gay marriage.

Media outlets such as the Boston Globe reported that Save Our Horses claimed the other group used their feel-good petition to dupe voters into signing the gay-marriage ban. Voters were quoted extensively in news stories saying they didn’t recall signing a gay-marriage ban petition and they remembered only the horse-meat petition. The horse petition failed, but the other more controversial gay-marriage measure succeeded.

When the controversy arose, Rudnick denied the fraud charges, telling reporters there was no “bait-and-switch tactic.”