WASHINGTON -- There's a wide field of Republicans hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also serves as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, but so far, the candidates have spent more time bashing each other than the incumbent.
“We've clearly got a spirited primary on our hands here,” Richard DeNapoli, chairman of the Republican Party of Broward County, told a crowd earlier this summer when four of the candidates appeared in a debate.
The melee among the candidates was so eye-opening that veteran political reporter Michael Putney, who moderated one of the debates, wrote that sometimes their statements “bordered on the ludicrous, boorish and unhinged.”
The prize for taking off the gloves may go to Karen Harrington and Ozzie deFaria, the two frontrunners. Harrington, who lost to Wasserman Schultz by 22 points two years ago, sent voters a mailer calling opponent deFaria a “Democrat Dream Candidate,” and referenced 2005 and 2006 arrests over scuffles with his estranged wife's boyfriend. “Anger issues?” the flier reads. “Suited for Congress? Does he represent your values?”
deFaria countered with his own mailer to voters, featuring his ex-wife, Elaine Seibold: “While it was a mistake, it was completely understandable at the time. And they've both moved on and are now friends,” she said. Adds the mailer: “If Ozzie deFaria is willing to tell you about his imperfections, you know he'll be honest with you about fixing America's problems.”
Here's deFaria's newest ad: