U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz defended Democratic turnout and bashed the GOP presidential field shortly before the debate started between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in Miami.
The Democratic National Committee chair from Broward County said that so far Republican turnout has been about 55 percent compared to 45 percent for the Democrats in Florida. The state’s primary is March 15 but voting by mail and at early voting sites started in February.
The higher GOP turnout isn’t a surprise since the Republican primary has had more candidates, she said.
“Ours hasn’t been a freak show,” she said, shortly before the debate at Miami Dade College.
Wasserman Schultz called out U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio who has been trailing Donald Trump in the polls.
“Marco Rubio should be doing so much better here...,” she said.
Asked about President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Cuba this month, Wasserman Schultz said she will not join Obama on the trip and has no desire to visit the island.
“Not until they make more human rights progress,” she said.
In Florida, the Democratic Party sees an opening with the Cuban-American vote which seen for years as a reliable GOP voting bloc but Obama made some headway with them in 2012.
The Democratic Party will try to appeal to Cuban-American voters with messages about jobs, education and health care, she said.
“Four and a half million Hispanics in this country have gotten health care that didn’t have it before,” she said.
At some point after the Miami debate, representatives for the DNC and the campaigns are expected to reach an agreement on the date and locations of the next debates. One debate is expected to be held in April and one in California in May.