May 31, 2016

Battle of the bagel between Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Under attack by her Democratic opponent and facing criticism for her national role as Democratic National Committee chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz fired back Tuesday at Tim Canova and portrayed him as an outsider.

“I have consistently, actively, vocally supported and advanced the causes that help make people's lives better and my opponent has done absolutely nothing,” she said. “He has never been involved in this community and so it’s very nice to say you share the same opinions on an issue. There is a difference between putting your body in front of an oncoming train and making sure that you are standing up actively engaged on these issues and saying, yeah, I’m going to hold up my hand and say yeah, me too.”

Her comments at a press conference followed her bagel fundraiser hosted by former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank at a real estate investment office on Las Olas Boulevard, where donors were asked to donate up to $5,400.

That prompted Canova to ask in a fundraising email “$5,400 for a bagel?” At the same time as her fundraiser, he offered up free bagels at a deli in Cooper City.

“Access to the ears of our representatives shouldn’t be so costly,” Canova said, after introducing himself to voters.

It was just another morning in the increasingly fierce battle between the Democrats running in Congressional District 23, which spans Weston to northern Miami-Dade County. This is the first time that Wasserman Schultz has faced a primary challenger since her first bid for office in 1992 for the state Legislature. She won the left-leaning congressional seat in 2004 and has easily fended off longshot Republican challengers since that time. Canova, a first-time candidate and Hollywood resident, is a Nova Southeastern University law professor.

Keep reading here.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the target of another payday loan ad

via @learyreports

The hits keep coming for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who will now face another TV ad campaign over her support for payday lenders.

Allied Progress said today it was putting $100,000 behind this ad that will run in Wasserman Schultz's district as she faces Democratic primary opponent Tim Canova.

This is the second time the liberal group has run ads against Wasserman Schultz and is part of a broader campaign against payday leders. Allied Progress is planning to run ads against either Rep. Alcee Hastings or Patrick Murphy over the political contributions they have gotten from the industry.

More from Politifact: "Debbie Wasserman Schultz attacked for bank donations and position on payday loan bill"

"Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz trusts that the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), regardless of whether this bill becomes law, will ultimately do what's right," spokesman Ryan Banfill said. "The ad, like all the others, intentionally takes her out of context. Here's what Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz actually said: Payday lending is unfortunately a necessary component of how people get access to capital that are working poor. She also said that what we really need to do is increase the minimum wage to $15/hour so payday loans aren't necessary.

"This is a PAC masquerading as a consumer group. The group apparently has decided they can't win a debate without resorting to distortions and bullying. That's unfortunate for the people who just want to responsibly pay their bills but are short on cash. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will continue to fight hard to protect consumers as her constituents know she always has."

Below is the interview used in the ad:

May 30, 2016

Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz hold dueling bagel events in Broward

Get ready for Democrats Tim Canova and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to schmear each other Tuesday morning at dueling bagel events.

It started when Wasserman Schultz announced she would hold a bagel fundraiser hosted by former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank -- co-chair of the Democratic rules committee for the convention -- at Oceanfront Investments on Las Olas Boulevard at 8 a.m. The maximum donation is $5,400. 

That prompted Canova to fire back a campaign email with the header "$5,400 for a bagel?"

"There’s a pretty good breakfast place near our headquarters where you can purchase a bagel for $1.35. Including schmear," Canova's fundraising email stated.

At the same time as Wasserman Schultz's fundraiser, Canova will host a free bagel event at Family Bagels of Long Island in Cooper City.

Canova, of Hollywood, and Wasserman Schultz, of Weston, are battling in Congressional District 23 which spans from Weston to northern Miami-Dade. The race somewhat mirrors the Democratic presidential primary between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Canova has the backing of Sanders and argues for campaign finance reform, has focused on small dollar online donations and has the backing of Democracy for America, Howard Dean's group. Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, has the backing of the establishment including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Canova has drawn considerable national media attention since Sanders recently endorsed him and his campaign has raised more than $1.5 million -- a hefty sum for a first-time candidate. And Wasserman Schultz has drawn criticism in her role as DNC chair particularly by the Sanders campaign which has accused her of favoring Clinton -- a charge she denies. But working in her favor: Clinton won District 23 -- and the state of Florida -- in a landslide.

There have been no publicly released polls in the district so it is difficult to assess his chances. Wasserman Schultz raised $1.8 million through March and has not released an updated total.




May 27, 2016

Congressional Black Caucus endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus has endorsed U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is running against first-time candidate Tim Canova for a Broward/Miami-Dade seat.

From a press release:

"Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a consistent and reliable leader and voice on issues of importance to African Americans and all Americans. As a Member of Congress, she has supported the Congressional Black Caucus’ agenda on issues such as voting rights, HBCU funding, fair sentencing guidelines, affordable housing, creating opportunities for minority-owned businesses, and lifting the people out of poverty and into the middle class to name a few. As leader of the Democratic National Committee, she has “walked the walk” with an unprecedented number of senior level African American appointments and policies that have provided historical opportunities for African American policy makers, operatives, activists and businesses. Under her leadership, both the 2012 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions have set diversity goals that meet and exceed levels of past minority participation. Her commitment to diversity is unwavering and the advances under her leadership are unquestioned."

It's not a surprise that Wasserman Schultz's colleagues in the House endorsed her -- she is the Democratic National Committee chair and has served in Congress since first winning her seat in 2004. But the endorsement gives her some good publicity during a week when there were news reports about whether some Democrats -- most notably Bernie Sanders who is backing Canova -- are hoping she is replaced as DNC chair.

But it seems unlikely Democrats would want to give that type of ammunition to Republicans this close to an election. Also in her favor: President Barack Obama won Florida both times while Wasserman Schultz was the chair, and he has endorsed her in her Congressional race. Plus Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Coconut Grove to fundraise for her in June. 

Canova announced earlier today that he was endorsed by the Democracy for America PAC, the group started by Howard Dean.

About 13 percent of the district's voting age population is black in Congressional District 23 which spans from Weston to northern Miami-Dade. South Florida members who are in the Congressional Black Caucus include Frederica Wilson and Alcee Hastings.

Democrats plan Florida public meeting on party platform


Ahead of July's presidential nominating convention, national Democrats plan to hold four public meetings across the country -- including one in Florida -- to discuss the party's platform.

"I want all Democrats to have their voices heard in this process," U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, said in a statement. "We are the Party of substance, ideas and diversity. We expanded the platform process to provide greater opportunity for Democrats to express their views and we look forward to hearing different perspectives from across the nation."

The Florida gathering of the platform committee meeting will take place July 8 and 9 in Orlando. The other meetings will take place in June in Washington, Phoenix and St. Louis.

Tim Canova endorsed by Democracy for America PAC

Tim Canova has been endorsed by Democracy for America, the progressive PAC founded by former presidential candidate Howard Dean.

The PAC has also endorsed Bernie Sanders who is backing Canova in his Democratic primary battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a Broward/Miami-Dade district.

Canova got the endorsement "because he has spent his life challenging the power of Wall Street banks, multinational corporations, and the systemic political corruption that keeps them profitable at the expense of everyone else," said Jim Dean, chaor of the PAC. "From her vote in support of fast track authority for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership to her unabashed protection of a payday lending industry that makes billions off the back struggling working families, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has aligned herself with the wealthy interests who are making income inequality worse in our country."

Democracy for America has raised $36.6 million to help elect 843 progressive candidates nationwide since 2004, according to a press release from the PAC. This cycle in Florida, the PAC also endorsed U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson who is running for U.S. Senate and Susannah Randolph who is running for Congress.

Canova's fundraising has picked up steam since Sanders announced on CNN last weekend that he supports Canova who has raised more than $1.5 million in his first bid for office. His fundraising prowess has helped land him interviews with national outlets including MSNBC and Fox News, increasing his exposure.

Wasserman Schultz, who is also the Democratic National Committee chair, raised $1.8 million through March. Her campaign has not announced how much she has raised since that date. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said a fundraiser he hosted in May raised $50,000 for her and Vice President Joe Biden will fundraise for her in June at the Coconut Grove home of Stephen Bittel.  



May 25, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz sided with medical marijuana proponents in a vote despite past opposition


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, who has taken heat for her opposition to medical marijuana, quietly took a vote in favor of it last week.

In 2014, she opposed Florida’s constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana — a rare position for a South Florida Democrat — that led to a spat between her and wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan, who bankrolled the amendment. A similar measure will appear on the ballot in November.

In the past, as a Democrat in a safe liberal district, Wasserman Schultz faced no political repercussions at the ballot box for taking a position out of step with her constituents. But criticism about her stances carry more weight this year because she faces a well-funded Democratic challenger: Tim Canova, who supports medical marijuana.

That’s why her vote related to medical marijuana last week has drawn some attention.

On May 19, Wasserman Schultz joined all but five Democrats in voting in favor of an amendment to allow military veterans’ access to state medical marijuana programs, as first reported by A directive currently prohibits Veterans Administration doctors from filling out forms for state medical marijuana programs or discussing the use of medical marijuana with patients.

Keep reading here.

May 24, 2016

Barney Frank to host fundraiser for Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Former Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Barney Frank will host a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Fort Lauderdale May 31.

Frank was the first openly gay Congressman. The host committee includes some longtime gay rights activists in Broward including Ken Evans, who is Hillary Clinton's LGBT volunteer coordinator in Florida, Julie Carson, Wilton Manors' first openly gay city commissioner and Michael Albetta, who has served on the board of the Dolphin Democrats. Other host committee members include Ashley Walker, who ran President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign in Florida, as well as developers, lawyers and lobbyists.

The fundraiser will be held at Oceanland Investments on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Wasserman Schultz is in an expensive battle against Tim Canova in the Aug. 30th Democratic primary for Congressional District 23 in Broward/Miami-Dade counties.







Debbie Wasserman Schultz collects enough signatures to qualify by petition

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced this morning that she received enough signatures to qualify for the ballot by petition in her primary battle against Tim Canova

Qualifying by petition is a way for candidates to show they have local support -- and they get to skip the $10,440 filing fee.

“I’m running for reelection so I can continue to fight for hard-working South Florida families, be a strong voice to protect children and defend Social Security and Medicare for Seniors. I'm grateful for the trust voters in the district have placed in me to be their voice in Washington and will continue to work every day to earn their vote once again this year,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “I am also humbled by the quick and overwhelming level of support we are receiving. We  collected enough petitions to qualify in less than one week from when we began and the petitions are still pouring in. In fact, in two weeks time, we have received more than 10,000 petitions from supporters who live in the district. I am truly grateful for their support.”

Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair from Weston, and Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law profefssor from Hollywood, are running in left-leaning Congressional District 23 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. 

Both candidates have big-name supporters: Wasserman Schultz has been endorsed by President Barack Obama while Canova has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders.

The state Division of Elections will start accepting qualifying papers June 6 and the qualifying period is June 20-24.

May 23, 2016

After Bernie Sanders endorsement, Tim Canova raises $250,000

Bernie Sanders is helping Tim Canova rake in the dollars in his Democratic primary battle with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Sanders announced Saturday that he is backing Canova and sent out a fundraising plea for him Sunday. Today, Canova's campaign announced that he had raised $250,000 since Sanders' weekend announcement. Sanders has been critical of Wasserman Schultz's leadership at the Democratic National Committee where he has said she has showed favoritism toward Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz has denied that repeatedly.

It doesn't appear likely that Sanders will campaign for Canova in the Broward/Miami-Dade Congressional District 23 anytime soon.

"The senator's focus now is on the presidential campaign and winning delegates to the Democratic National Convention," Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said.

Canova, a law professor running his first race, announced earlier this month that he had raised $1 million. Wasserman Schultz raised $1.8 million through March and hasn't released an updated figure. The next campaign finance reports are due July 15.

Wasserman Schultz has been endorsed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will headline a fundraiser for her at Stephen Bittel's Coconut Grove home in June.