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U.S. Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz out as Democratic chair

Florida congresswoman heckled by Bernie Sanders supporters at Florida delegation caucus

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

florida mugPHILADELPHIA (CFP) — Under fire for leaked internal emails containing critical comments about Bernie Sanders and his presidential campaign, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida is stepping down as chair of the Democratic National Committee.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

And after a raucous protest by Sanders supporters at a morning meeting of the Florida caucus, Wasserman Schultz abandoned plans to gavel in the first session of the Democratic National Convention July 25.

She told her hometown newspaper, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, that she canceled her appearance “in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note.”

The DNC had already decided to replace Wasserman Schultz as the permanent convention chair, a position normally filled by the party chair if the House Speaker is of the other party.

In a statement issued on the eve of the convention announcing her departure as DNC chair, Wasserman Schultz had said that she would open and close the convention and “address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election, not only for Democrats but for all Americans.”

She also said she would campaign for Hillary Clinton in the fall, whom she called “a friend I have always believed in and know will make a great president.”

The controversy over the emails generated an ugly scene at the Florida caucus meeting Monday morning, where Wasserman Schultz was heckled by Sanders supporters.

“So I can see there’s a little bit of interest in my being here, and I appreciate that interest,” she told the crowd as she struggled to be heard over the protestors.

When they would not stop, Wasserman Schultz finally fired back:

“We know that the voices in this room that are standing up and being disruptive — we know that that’s not the Florida that we know.”

Wasserman Schultz, who was Clinton’s campaign co-chair during her unsuccessful run for president in 2008, was appointed as head of the DNC in 2011 by President Obama.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders supporters complained that the DNC, under Wasserman Schultz’s direction, was showing favoritism toward Clinton in their intra-party tussle.

The internal emails, leaked by Wikileaks, added fuel to those complaints, with documents showing Wasserman Schultz questioning Sanders’ Democratic bona fides and criticizing some of his top campaign operatives.

The leaked emails also showed DNC officials — though not Wasserman Schultz — discussing whether to question Sanders about being an atheist.

Her contentious relationship with the Sanders campaign has spilled over in her race for re-election in Florida’s 23rd District, where she is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Sanders supporter Tim Canova, who has raised more than $2 million in an effort to unseat her.

The district takes in southern Broward County and Miami Beach.

Bernie Sanders endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s primary challenger

Sanders also says he’ll replace Florida congresswoman as head of the Democratic National Committee

florida mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters have long complained that Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been unfair to his presidential campaign.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

And now, he’s trying to exact some political revenge by endorsing Wasserman Schultz’s Democratic primary challenger in Florida’s 23rd District, Tim Canova.

“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.

Congressional candidate Tim Canova

Congressional candidate Tim Canova

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.

Debbie Wassermann Schultz’s primary challenger raises eye-popping pile of cash

Tim Canova’s campaign raises $1 million in four months

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com

florida mugHOLLYWOOD, Florida (CFP) — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz may be in for the fight of her political career against a Democratic primary challenger who is raising a small mountain of cash to use against her.

Congressional candidate Tim Canova

Congressional candidate Tim Canova

Tim Canova, a law professor from Hollywood who criticizes Wasserman Schultz for being insufficiently liberal, has broken the $1 million mark in campaign fundraising, his campaign has announced.

He described his campaign as a “grassroots movement that will restore a voice in our democracy to everyday people and demand accountability from our leaders.”

If that sounds a lot like Bernie Sanders, it is by design. Canova has tied himself firmly to the Vermont senator’s coattails in his effort to oust Wasserman Schultz, who is also chair of the Democratic National Committee.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Sanders partisans have been critical of Wasserman Schultz and the DNC, complaining they are showing partiality to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race. Now, that anger has spilled over into the primary in Florida’s 23rd District, which takes in southern Broward County and Miami Beach.

While Canova has raised enough money to be competitive, he still trails Wasserman Schultz in the money chase. She has raised $1.77 million as of March 15, the last time candidates reported fundraising numbers to the Federal Election Commission.

In fact, Wasserman Schultz has already spent more money on her campaign–$1.3 million–than Canova has raised for the August 30 primary.

And 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.

Canova has also been criticizing Wasserman Schultz for not yet accepting his offer to debate.

However, in addition to her fundraising advantage, Wasserman Schultz also has another big gun in her arsenal–a highly touted endorsement from President Barack Obama.

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