August 09, 2016

Former Broward Republican chair endorses Hillary Clinton


A former Broward GOP chair who says Donald Trump is “sexist, bigoted” and “not stable” has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Cindy Guerra said that she felt the Republican Party gave her no choice but to endorse Clinton. Guerra, whose parents are from Cuba, was the first Cuban American to lead the Broward Republican Executive Committee, an unpaid position she held in 2010.

“I cannot see a President Trump. To me it’s a matter of country over party -- as cheesy and goofy as that sounds -- it’s true,” she told the Miami Herald. “Trump is not fit to be president. I don’t think he has the demeanor. I think he is sexist, bigoted and narcissistic and uninformed. He is not stable.”

Guerra said that Trump made comments about women and Hispanics and mocking a disabled reporter showing that he isn’t fit to be president.

Those comments included when Trump said a judge of Mexican descent had "an absolute conflict" in presiding over the Trump University litigation.

“To say that about a judge is absolutely absurd,” said Guerra, who is a lawyer.

Among the comments she also cited as “reprehensible” was Trump’s answer to a reporter’s question about what his daughter Ivanka should do if sexually harassed at work: “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case,” he said.

Guerra also said she was offended when Trump said that U.S. Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured.

“No matter where you stand, the man is an American hero,” she said.

A 50-year-old lifelong Republican, Guerra said she has never endorsed a Democrat. She said she registered with the GOP when she turned 18 and the first campaign she worked on was when Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1984. She will remain a registered Republican and plans to vote for Marco Rubio’s re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Guerra was the Regional Deputy Attorney General in Florida from 2007-2012 under Bill McCollum and Pam Bondi.

Guerra said that she had been vocal about her criticisms of Trump and that the Clinton campaign had gotten wind of it. She said that she won’t fundraise for Clinton but has endorsed her and will vote for her.

“To me do I think Hillary Clinton is my perfect candidate? No -- I supported Jeb Bush,” she said. However, “I sure think she is a whole heck of a lot better than Trump. She is safer than Trump, she is stable. With Trump you don’t know what he is going to do, he doesn’t take counsel well. He scares me. Do I wish I was voting for a Republican? Of course I do but the Republican Party has given me no choice.”

Trump schedules Broward rally

Campaign 2016 Trump(2)

Donald Trump plans to rally supporters Wednesday in Broward County.

The Republican presidential nominee will be at the BB&T Center in Sunrise -- where the Florida Panthers play hockey -- at 7 p.m. Public tickets are available here.

He'll also hold a rally at 7:00 p.m. Thursday in Kissimmee.

Trump was last in South Florida two weeks ago for a fundraiser at Trump National Doral golf resort. The next day, he called a news conference in which he suggested Russia hack Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's email. Trump later said he was being sarcastic.

Trump hasn't held a rally in Miami-Dade or Broward since October. He won the March 15 Florida primary in a landslide, but trails Clinton in the latest state poll, by Suffolk University, by 48-42 percent.

Photo credit: Evan Vucci, Associated Press

August 08, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she will announce debate details this week


It looks like Tim Canova and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will debate, but no details have been announced yet.

On Thursday, Wasserman Schultz told the Sun Sentinel editorial board that she would debate Canova, her primary opponent for a Broward/Miami-Dade congressional seat.

But nothing specific had been announced and after her Zika town hall today in Pembroke Pines she said she was "working on those details."

"Perhaps you have no intention of debating at all and that this was simply a smokescreen," Canova wrote in a letter to Wasserman Schultz today after asking her to debate for months.

This evening, Wasserman Schultz responded in a brief statement to the media: "I'm looking forward to debating my opponent on the issues that are most critical to the people of Florida's 23rd congressional district. I will announce details this week."

The opponents don't have much time left: the primary is Aug. 30th but voters have already started casting ballots by mail.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz bashes Rick Scott, Paul Ryan at Zika town hall


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointed the finger at Gov. Rick Scott and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan for not protecting Florida and the nation from Zika.

In a town hall at a senior center in Pembroke Pines Monday morning, Wasserman Schultz bashed the Republicans in Congress and Ryan for leaving on recess without reaching an agreement on Zika funding.

“The reason we don’t have that bill on the president’s desk is that Republicans decided they were going to attach all these unrelated political riders onto Zika,” she said. “There were provisions like taking out funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Wasserman Schultz was referring to a House bill that would have blocked the flow of money to Profamilias, the Planned Parenthood chapter in Puerto Rico. However, the bill also provided funds that would potentially help clinics and hospitals throughout the island.

For months, the Obama administration sought $1.9 billion in Zika funding but the Senate and House sought lesser amounts and failed to reach an agreement.

Wasserman Schultz also called out Scott, a Republican, for his funding decisions.

“Gov. Rick Scott while he seems to be saying out loud he wants Congress and the President to provide more funding he conveniently leaves out he cut nearly $1 million dollars from mosquito control and closed down the state’s mosquito research lab a few years ago,” she said.

In June, the state allocated $26.2 million but as of Friday the state had released $1.9 million. Of that, $316,800 went to Miami-Dade County and $221,635 went to Broward. The money is for prevention and test kits, insect repellent and other mosquito control efforts.

At a press gaggle after the event, Wasserman Schultz was asked about Sen. Marco Rubio’s comments to Politico that he would oppose abortion for a Zika-infected woman.

“Sen Rubio has definitely been an ally and has continually pushed for the president’s emergency supplemental appropriations request and I give him credit for that and I’ve been glad to work with him on that,” she said. “But it's irresponsible to put limitations on how we combat a virus that can result in birth defects -- life-threatening birth defects -- for the babies born to pregnant women who have contracted the Zika virus and those decisions should be left between a woman and her doctor and the government should not be interfering in those decisions.”

Rubio is a longtime opponent of abortion rights while Wasserman Schultz has been a consistent supporter of abortion rights.

Wasserman Schultz held her town hall at the SW Focal Point Senior Center where most of the seniors appeared to already be there for their regular mahjong, dominoes or poker game rather than specifically coming to hear Wasserman Schultz speak.

Only two of the 16 locally acquired cases have been in Broward while the rest have been in Miami-Dade. In total, there are 422 cases, most of them acquired while traveling. The list includes 55 women who are pregnant and the most at risk because the virus can cause severe birth defects.

While Zika may not be a top concern among voters in western Broward, it put her in front of a reliable fan base: Democratic voters. She needs those voters now more than ever before because for the first time in more than two decades she faces a Democratic challenger: Tim Canova, a first-time candidate and Nova Southeastern University law professor from Hollywood. The last time the Weston Democrat faced a primary was in 1992 when she ran for the state Legislature. The Democrats are competing for attention in the Aug. 30 primary although many voters are already casting ballots by mail.

Candidates and politicians have used the virus to attack opponents or political parties and have portrayed themselves as fighting to combat the virus. On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton visits a clinic in Miami’s Midtown neighborhood.

In recent months, Wasserman Schultz has largely avoided joint appearances with Canova and instead has stuck to events such as the Zika town hall. Last week Wasserman Schultz said she would debate Canova but no specifics have been announced yet.

Photo is from a town hall last week in Sunrise (Sun-Sentinel)



Tim Canova to file FEC complaint against Debbie Wasserman Schultz


Tim Canova said he will file a Federal Election Commission complaint today against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz related to the leaked Democratic National Committee emails.

“Wasserman Schultz had a fiduciary duty to the DNC and ultimately to the public to be a fair arbitrator and to separate her obligations as a candidate for federal office from her position as chair of a national committee, ..." states the complaint, according to a Canova press release. "She had a legal obligation to institute a firewall between her campaign and the DNC. Instead, the record establishes that she used her position with the DNC and the resources of the DNC to improperly benefit her congressional campaign.”
“The emails establish that on numerous occasions the DNC, under Wasserman Schultz's direction and control, used its resources to track my campaign, interfere with my campaign events and to assist the Wasserman Schultz campaign in her personal communications strategy,” Canova said.

Canova is running against Wasserman Schultz in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary for the Broward/Miami-Dade seat.

Wasserman Schultz stepped down as DNC chair in July after WikiLeaks published more than 19,000 emails. Some emails showed that the DNC was tracking Canova's campaign and media coverage.

In an interview with the Miami Herald editorial board last week, she denied that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

Wasserman Schultz's campaign spokesman had no comment because the complaint hasn't been filed yet.

Tim Canova endorsed by Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida


Tim Canova has been endorsed by the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida.

He is running against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, in a district that stretches from western Broward to northern Miami-Dade. Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, lives in Hollywood.

According to the caucus, the endorsement questionnaire covered a wide variety of topics, including charter and voucher school accountability, transportation, gun safety, climate change, and Medicaid expansion.

The primary is Aug. 30th but voting by mail is already underway.

August 05, 2016

Two Republicans are running for Wasserman Schultz's congressional seat. Only one backs Trump.


Florida's 23rd congressional district, currently represented by Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, leans so heavily Democratic that it's easy to forget there's a Republican primary under way.

But defense attorney Marty Feigenbaum and activist Joe Kaufman are both on the Aug. 30 GOP ballot. And one of their key differences may be this: Only one of them backs Republican nominee Donald Trump for president.

"I don't agree with him on everything he's said," Kaufman said. "I do support him."

He credited Trump -- and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders -- for having "been able to expose" a political system Kaufman says benefits insiders.

Feigenbaum, on the other hand, said he's a centrist Republican with serious concerns about Trump.

"There's things that don't allow me to say I support him right now," he said. 

In particular, Feigenbaum cited Trump's criticism of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of Indiana -- who's trying a case on the now-defunct Trump University and whom the nominee accused of being biased because Curiel's parents are Mexican -- and to Trump's imitating a disabled New York Times reporter. 

"Ever since I was a little kid, I don't tolerate somebody that leaves the impression that he makes fun of disabled people," he said. 

"I'm not a supporter of Hillary Clinton," Feigenbaum added.

August 04, 2016

Wasserman Schultz says she'll debate Canova. Canova: 'I will believe it when I see it'


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston told the Miami Herald editorial board and the Sun-Sentinel on Thursday that she does, in fact, intend to debate primary challenger Tim Canova, who has been clamoring for a debate for weeks.

In a statement, Canova said he was "happy" to hear the Democratic congresswoman's position.

"I will believe it when I see it," he said, adding he long ago proposed a series of six debates. "Wasserman Schultz has dodged debates for four months and she's been dodging her own constituents for even longer."

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald staff

Wasserman Schultz defends calling Sanders' campaign manager an 'ass'



U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston isn't sorry she once called Bernie Sanders' campaign manager an "ASS."

“Well, he was acting like an ass,” she told the Miami Herald editorial board Thursday.

She was defending an internal Democratic National Committee email obtained apparently by Russian hackers and published by the website WikiLeaks. The email trove forced Wasserman Schultz out of her position as DNC chairwoman just before last week's presidential convention.

Wasserman Schultz, who is running for re-election, told the Herald she and her staff expressed themselves assuming their emails would remain private. But she expressed no regret over her characterization of Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, who at the time had suggested Sanders would extend his campaign until the convention.

“The Sanders campaign — and I give them credit for it — their strategy at that point was to make the DNC the bogeyman, and make me the bogeyman, so they could rally their supporters,” she said.

Wasserman Schultz also denied a Politico report that she asked Vice President Joe Biden for a video to play at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

“Not true,” she said. “I really don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be responding to anonymous criticism. If people don’t have the nerve to be critical and put their name to it, then I’m not going to box nameless, faceless critics.”

Read the story here.

Photo credit: Shannon Kaestle, Miami Herald

'The buck stops with me,' Wasserman Schultz says of leaked DNC emails


via @alextdaugherty

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston took responsibility Thursday for the leaked emails that eventually led to her resignation as Democratic National Committee chairwoman, saying "the buck stops with me."

She also denounced an email by her former party staff questioning Bernie Sanders' religious beliefs as "unacceptable" and "outrageous."

During her first local public appearance since resigning on the eve of last week's national convention, Wasserman Schultz denied the DNC was attempting to thwart Sanders' bid for president against nominee Hillary Clinton. She spoke at a briefing Thursday in Wynwood that Gov. Rick Scott, touring the neighborhood due to Zika, had with Congressional leaders.

"We followed the rules according to the DNC, primaries and caucuses were run according to state law," Wasserman Schultz said. "At the end of the day, who the DNC chair was, I could not allow to be a distraction."

The congresswoman said party staffers under her made mistakes. But she said leaked emails published by the website WikiLeaks weren't any more damaging than emails that would come out of any other private organization.

"Were there mistakes made?" Wasserman Schultz said. "Sure … but who among us in thinking about whether your private emails were stolen would survive the light of day?"

More here.