SARASOTA, Fla. – A man charged with assault for allegedly aiming his car at Rep. Katherine Harris (search) and supporters while they were campaigning was ordered held Thursday on $500,000 bail.
Barry M. Seltzer, 46, faces one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and could face a federal charge in connection with the Tuesday incident.
Seltzer told police he was exercising "political expression" when he aimed his car at Harris and campaign supporters as they stood at a busy intersection. He swerved onto the sidewalk; no one was hurt.
Harris told police she feared for her life and froze as the vehicle sped toward her.
The congresswoman mentioned the incident earlier Thursday at a rally featuring first lady Laura Bush (search). She held up a picture of Seltzer's parked car, and a sign for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) in the yard.
"Here's the Kerry sign, here's his medium of free speech," Harris said, pointing at the car.
Seltzer, who surrendered to police early Wednesday, told police he was annoyed by the slow traffic and wanted to intimidate the campaigners, according to a police report. "I did not run them down, I scared them a little," the report quoted him saying.
Seltzer's attorneys, Darren Finebloom and David Haenel, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
As Florida secretary of state during the 2000 presidential election, Harris was vilified by Democrats for overseeing the recount that gave the presidency to George W. Bush by 537 votes. She went on to win election to Congress in 2002 and is running against lawyer Jan Schneider, who lost to Harris two years ago.