Jose Lambiet

2000 election kingpin Katherine Harris to marry Texas tycoon

Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., gestures during a news conference Wednesday morning, Oct. 4, 2006, outside the regional office of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security in Tampa, Fla.
Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., gestures during a news conference Wednesday morning, Oct. 4, 2006, outside the regional office of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security in Tampa, Fla. AP

Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, the woman at the center of the controversial election of President George W. Bush in 2000, says she’s “blessed” to have fallen in love again.

Harris, 59, is scheduled to be married to a Texas multimillionaire over the next few days — three years after her first husband committed suicide in their Sarasota mansion.

“I never expected this would happen,” she said about her relationship with Richard Ware, a banker from Amarillo, Texas. “You know, I’d become a near recluse. I’m very blessed.”

When reached on her cellphone Monday, Harris played it close to the vest and declined to discuss how she met the 70-year-old Texan.

She didn’t confirm a report she’s tying the knot Saturday and declined to discuss any of the nuptials’ details. The Amarillo Globe-News reported that the marriage license was issued there on Sunday.

“Just let me make it down the aisle,” she said, “then call me back in a couple weeks.”

Stealing a page from the Donald Trump playbook, she called reports of the Feb. 25 ceremony “fake news.”

“I’ve had enough of that s… [fake news] in my life,” she said. “I don’t need the press in my life any longer.

“I went through a terrible trauma [her husband’s death], and I’m still sad about it.”

But a source who tells Gossip Extra he was invited confirmed he is attending her wedding Saturday. He declined to be named.

After a stint as Secretary of State during which she had to certify Bush’s win over Al Gore in Florida, in essence handing him the presidency, Harris was elected to the U.S. Congress for two terms in her hometown of Sarasota.

The heiress of a citrus fortune, Harris vanished from public life in late 2013, after her then-husband of nearly 20 years committed suicide in their mansion by shooting himself. Businessman Anders Ebbeson was believed to be terminally ill at the time.

Her new guy, meanwhile, is the CEO of the Amarillo National Bank and comes from a long lineage of Texas bankers. He’s also a trustee of Dallas’ Southern Methodist University.

Over the years, Ware has been a prolific donor to Republican causes and politicians.

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