Sanders also says he’ll replace Florida congresswoman as head of the Democratic National Committee
“Clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders said in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, which aired May 22. “His views are much closer to mine than to Wasserman Schultz’s.”
Sanders also said that if he wins the White House, he will replace her as head of the DNC.
In response, Wasserman Schultz released a statement saying that even though Sanders is now backing Canova, “I remain, as I have been from the beginning, neutral in the presidential Democratic primary.”
Sanders and his supporters have been highly critical of the DNC chair for what they see as her tilt toward his rival, Hillary Clinton, including scheduling debates on weekends when audiences were small in order to blunt his populist appeal.
Wasserman Schultz has been officially neutral in the 2016 campaign. However, in 2008, she was the national co-chair of Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, and the two women have had a long association.
Canova, 56, is a law professor and Sanders supporter from Hollywood making his first bid for elected office in the 23rd District, which takes in southern Broward County and Miami Beach.
His campaign has raised more than $1 million to challenge Wasserman Schultz, although she has outpaced him in fundraising. She has also been endorsed by President Obama.
In the presidential primary back in March, Clinton pummeled Sanders by more than 30 points in Broward County, which does not bode well for Canova’s chances in a similar proxy fight with Wassserman Schultz.
Still, the primary challenge is proving something of a headache for the DNC chair, with South Florida media noting an uptick in her campaigning for what had been considered an unassailable seat. This is the first time in her 12-year congressional career that she has faced primary competition.