August 11, 2016

Debate tiff ends: Canova and Wasserman Schultz agree to CBS4 debate


After originally rejecting an offer to debate U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tim Canova agreed Thursday to do it after all, after a TV station said it would lengthen the time for the encounter.

The 8 a.m. Sunday debate will air on CBS4’s “Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede” and last one hour — twice as long as the show’s normal time slot.

For months, Canova, running in the Democratic primary Aug. 30, sought debates with Wasserman Schultz and accused her of dodging him. On Wednesday, she finally agreed to the CBS4 debate.

“I look forward to a thoughtful conversation and robust debate that addresses the issues important to the people of Florida’s 23rd Congressional district,” she said in a statement.

But then it was Canova’s turn to shun a debate.

Canova’s campaign manager, Richard Bell, initially told the Miami Herald on Thursday that Canova “will not” participate in the debate, and Canova issued a statement bashing the idea of a 15-minute debate (although the show is a half hour with commercials).

“After four months of dodging debates and running scared, Wasserman Schultz now wants to schedule a 15 minute debate? If she believes one 15 minute debate is sufficient to defend her record, it shows she's learned nothing from her failures in scheduling debates at the DNC before her shameful resignation.”

If that was a ploy to get more free air-time by Canova, it worked.

On Thursday afternoon, CBS4 agreed to a one-hour format, and Wasserman Schultz and Canova both agreed to participate.

Keep reading here.


Hillary Clinton campaign opens Fort Lauderdale office


Hillary Clinton's campaign will open it's first Broward County office for the general election tonight.

The office is located on Sistrunk Boulevard, which is part of Fort Lauderdale's historically African-American community. About one-quarter of Broward's one million voters are black.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, is expected to speak about Clinton's jobs plan. The office opens at 1033 NW Sixth St. at 6 p.m.

The Clinton campaign had an office in Pompano Beach before the primary. Additional offices are expected in Broward, Florida's county with the highest number of registered Democratic voters.

Tim Canova won't participate in CBS4 debate with Debbie Wasserman Schultz


Tim Canova's campaign manager Richard Bell told the Miami Herald today that Canova won't participate in a debate with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Sunday morning.

On Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz announced that she agreed to a debate on CBS4's Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede, a half-hour show at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. 

Wasserman Schultz is still expected to appear and CBS4 plans to leave a chair available for Canova.

"I look forward to a thoughtful conversation and robust debate that addresses the issues important to the people of Florida’s 23rd Congressional district," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Wednesday.

Canova had sought debates with Wasserman Schultz for months and bashed her in a TV ad for not agreeing to a debate. Both candidates have previously appeared on Facing South Florida: Wasserman Schultz was interviewed by DeFede in April and on Sunday Canova was interviewed by CBS4's Eliott Rodriguez. When Rodriguez said it would be great to have Canova debate Wasserman Schultz on the show, Canova replied: "I would love that. I hope so." 

Canova recently called for three two-hour debates -- something that is more common for presidential or statewide debates than a Congressional district debate.

But now by refusing to debate on DeFede's show, Canova is missing his only chance so far to a debate before the Aug. 30 primary. He is skipping an opportunity to face his opponent and undergo questioning by DeFede, a top-notch investigative reporter who would have posed serious questions to both candidates. Meanwhile, voters are already casting ballots by mail -- so far 7,363 Democrats have voted in the Broward side of the district which represents the bulk of the voters.

Canova issued a statement today criticizing Wasserman Schultz. He says the debate would be 15-minutes but the show is 30 minutes although that includes commercials.

"After four months of dodging debates and running scared, Wasserman Schultz now wants to schedule a 15 minute debate?  If she believes one 15 minute debate is sufficient to defend her record, it shows she's learned nothing from her failures in scheduling debates at the DNC before her shameful resignation.  In April, I proposed a series of real debates, and that's still my hope, that the voters will get the benefit of hearing us discuss the issues in more than one debate of at least two-hours each to cover a wide range of issues of importance to all of us.”

“When I first heard this news,” said Canova, “I thought it was a joke.  But actually it’s quite a disgrace and shows the arrogance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and once again her contempt for democracy.  The people of South Florida deserve better than a representative showing up for 15 minutes to defend her record."


August 10, 2016

Trump riffs to rowdy Broward crowd


@PatriciaMazzei @AmySherman1 @alextdaugherty

The Donald Trump who arrived to a rocking Broward County hockey arena Wednesday night wasn’t the politician who read off a TelePrompTer when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination last month, or when he laid out his economic plan in Detroit earlier this week.

No, the Trump who rallied thousands of raucous supporters in Sunrise came to South Florida to riff.

On ISIS: “ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS… and I would say the co-founder is crooked Hillary Clinton.”

On the Russian invasion of Crimea, which Trump seemed to be unaware of in a recent interview: “This was taken during the administration of Barack Hussein Obama.”

On Clinton, his Democratic rival for the White House: “Hillary Clinton said, ‘I don’t like his tone.’ See, I don’t like her temperament. Her temperament is the temperament of a loser.”

The crowd loved it.

It was Trump’s first time campaigning in Broward, Florida’s most Democratic county, and his first big public appearance in the state’s southern end since October. Back then, long before any Republican primary ballots had been cast, Trump’s rally had felt like a cross between a thumping rock concert and an edgy protest.

For his backers, the thrill isn’t gone.

More here.

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald staff

Wasserman Schultz says she'll debate Canova on TV this Sunday


The campaign of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston said Wednesday it will debate Democratic primary opponent Tim Canova on Sunday, on Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4's "Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede."

DeFede said on Twitter that Canova has yet to confirm his attendance. Canova's campaign was told of Wasserman Schultz's willingness to debate only Wednessay afternoon.

Canova has clamored for a debate for weeks. Wasserman Schultz told the Herald editorial board last week that she would face off against the Nova Southeastern University law professor, her first challenger in 24 years.

"I look forward to a thoughtful conversation and robust debate that addresses the issues important to the people of Florida’s 23rd Congressional district," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Photo credit: Shannon Kaestle, Miami Herald staff

Bernie bucks keep pouring in for Wasserman Schultz rival Canova

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What is Bernie Sanders' endorsement worth?

For Florida congressional candidate Tim Canova, the answer so far is more than half a million bucks.

Sanders' campaign told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that it has helped raise more than $637,000 since May 22, when the Vermont senator and former Democratic presidential candidate began asking supporters to chip in for Canova.

Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, a Sanders foe. Sanders accused her of bias toward Hillary Clinton when Wasserman Schultz ran the Democratic National Committee. Leaked internal emails from the DNC showed late last month that Wasserman Schultz's staff favored Clinton, though Sanders' camp acknowledged that preference wasn't to blame for his loss to Clinton. Still, the email embarrassment cost Wasserman Schultz her high-profile role -- and forced her to step up campaigning after 24 years of running unopposed.

His endorsement of Canova was Sanders' first foray into congressional races this election cycle. Team Sanders sent supporters its latest Canova fundraising pitch Tuesday, on the same day Clinton traveled to Davie to endorse Wasserman Schultz. Since Tuesday alone, just under $300,000 has come in, according to a Sanders spokesman.

In all, the Canova contributions amount to $637,924.10 and came from 40,948 donations, each averaging $16.

Over the past few weeks, handwritten postcards from all over the country have poured into the Herald's editorial board from supporters urging for a Canova endorsement. Canova himself told the Herald he knew nothing about the postcard-writing campaign; one of Wasserman Schultz's chief criticisms of Canova is that he's an outsider whose support lies mostly outside the Broward/Miami-Dade County district.

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, el Nuevo Herald

Broward activist ejected from Democratic club meeting for confronting Patrick Murphy



A liberal activist in Broward County was booted from a local Democratic club meeting Tuesday night after confronting U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy about why Murphy won’t debate his primary opponent, Alan Grayson.

Joe Kreps, a Grayson supporter from Plantation, challenged Murphy to explain why he backed out of the debate with Grayson this week, the only one planned ahead of the Aug. 30 primary.

“All I wanted was an answer to my question.... It’s got to stop. Somebody’s got to stand up and say, ‘stop hiding,’” Kreps said.

But others at the Plantation Democratic Club’s meeting — which included a friendly audience of Murphy supporters — said Kreps was out of line for forcing his question on the Jupiter congressman. The club’s acting president, Ralph Rickel, on Wednesday admonished Kreps as “a real wackadoo” and an embarrassment.

More here.

Photo credit: Patrick Murphy U.S. Senate campaign

Debbie Wasserman Schultz to hold gun meeting with Gabrielle Giffords


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will hold a gun safety meeting with former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Broward Thursday night.

In 2011, Giffords was holding a Congressional event in Arizona when a gunman shot her and 18 others, killing six. Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, who will also attend the meeting, have since become advocates for preventing gun violence. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, who faces re-election, and former State Sen. Nan Rich, who is running for Broward County Commission, will also participate in the 7 p.m. meeting at Temple Beth Emet in Cooper City.

In a press release, Wasserman Schultz stated that "every day, 89 people die from gun violence." In 2015, PolitiFact rated a similar claim by Hillary Clinton Mostly True. Most of those deaths are a result of suicides.

Wasserman Schultz is running against Tim Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary for a Broward/Miami-Dade congressional seat. She has been largely sticking to friendly venues in the district such as meetings her congressional staff help organize about Zika, gun safety or other topics and has generally avoided joint appearances with Canova.

Wasserman Schultz said in a statement earlier this week that she will release details about a debate with Canova this week. Canova has attacked Wasserman Schultz in a TV ad for not debating him so far.

Canova holds a town hall meeting in North Miami Beach Thursday at 7 p.m. at Winston Towers.

Photo by the AP at the 2012 Democratic convention

Clinton campaign highlights Republican and independent endorsements


Hillary Clinton's campaign has released an updated list of notable Republicans and independents who have endorsed the Democrat.

One Floridian is on the list: Cindy Guerra, a former chair of the Broward Republican Executive Committee.

“Trump is not fit to be president," Guerra told the Miami Herald on Tuesday. "I don’t think he has the demeanor. I think he is sexist, bigoted and narcissistic and uninformed. He is not stable.”

From the Clinton press release:

"The list of nearly 50 endorsements includes three former Cabinet Secretaries, six current or former Members of the House and Senate, six former Ambassadors, five former leaders in the armed forces, nearly 20 senior Republican administration officials and numerous business or community leaders. Together for America is also announcing major new endorsements for Hillary Clinton today from former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Carla Hills, Former Congresswoman Connie Morella, Former Congressman Chris Shays and Former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte."


August 09, 2016

Clinton gives Wasserman Schultz a little political love

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In between a Miami Zika-clinic tour and a pair of Miami Beach fundraisers, Hillary Clinton and her motorcade made their way north on I-95 Tuesday for a Broward County pit stop.

Their destination: U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s campaign headquarters in Davie.

The Democratic presidential primary lives on in Florida’s 23rd congressional district.

Clinton formally endorsed Wasserman Schultz, who faces her first primary challenger in 24 years in Tim Canova, a political novice backed by Clinton’s former rival, Bernie Sanders.

“I have to have her in Congress, by my side, working day after day,” Clinton told diehard Wasserman Schultz supporters packed in the strip-mall campaign office. She hugged the Weston congresswoman and kissed her on the cheek — and told activists to give Wasserman Schultz a victory in the Aug. 30 Florida congressional primary.

“I really respect Debbie’s fighting spirit,” added Clinton.

More here.

Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press