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Former ITAA head Harris Miller: 'No regrets' in failed Senate bid

He was called the 'antichrist of outsourcing' during the primary campaign

By Todd R. Weiss
June 15, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Six months after stepping down as president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Virginia, Harris Miller said yesterday that he has "no regrets" after losing the race Tuesday in a tough, close vote.

"I fought the good fight," said Miller, 54. "I’m taking some time off now and thinking about my next career."

Miller, of McLean, Va., led the trade group for more than a decade and was its public face on a variety of issues. The ITAA, which was formed in 1961 and has about 350 corporate members, deals with global public policy issues, offers business networking and is an advocate for the continued growth of the IT industry. It has been a staunch backer of efforts to increase the number of controversial H-1B visas available to IT workers as well as a proponent of expanded federal research and development tax credits for U.S. companies.

For Miller, some of the group’s supportive stands on outsourcing and H-1B visas often left him at odds with U.S. labor groups during the campaign. His Democratic opponent in the primary, James Webb Jr., portrayed Miller as the "antichrist of outsourcing" because of his past lobbying efforts on behalf of the ITAA.

Asked if those attacks led to his loss in Tuesday’s primary, Miller declined to comment. "He got the majority of votes in the primary," Miller said of Webb. "I’m supporting him. I’m not interested in rehashing old battles."

With all but two precincts reporting their unofficial tallies, Webb won the Democratic primary with 83,189 votes, or 53.5% of the vote, compared with Miller's 72,343 votes, or 46.5% of the vote.

It was the second time Miller ran for public office, having also lost in a congressional race in Virginia in 1984.

The experience was again worth the effort, he said.

"That was really remarkable," he said. "People I had never met before put hours and days of their lives on hold to work in the campaign. That was certainly the most impressive thing to me. I worked 16 hours a day starting Jan. 9 on the campaign, traveling all over the state, getting my message out there."

A native of New Kensington, Pa., Miller has been active in Democratic politics for years.

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