One of the Palm Beach County commission members responsible for recounting the flawed butterfly ballots disputed in the 2000 election has thrown her own towel in the ring and announced she is running for Congress.

Democrat Carol Roberts, accused by Republicans of excessive partisanship in the disputed Florida election, said her role in the recount would help her campaign.

"Certainly it's not going to hurt me that people respect what I did for democracy," Roberts said.

A county commissioner and former West Palm Beach mayor, Roberts wants to unseat longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Clay Shaw Jr.

"This is one of our top races. We know for a fact that Claw Shaw is vulnerable. The last election is a clear indicator of how Florida has shifted. It's a 50-50 state," said Luis Rosero, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman.

During the 2000 election, Shaw beat challenger Elaine Bloom, a former state representative, by fewer than 600 votes.

"Claw Shaw has not responded to the people," Roberts said, offering to fight to protect Social Security and Medicare and pass a patients' bill of rights. Speaking to a largely geriatric district, Roberts also wants to push for prescription drug benefits for seniors, something Shaw promised, but Congress has not yet delivered.

During the 2000 election, Roberts, 65, offered on live television to go to jail after a court order halted the recount that she wanted to continue. She was assigned a sheriff's deputy bodyguard after receiving death threats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.