July 25, 2016

After DNC email leak, Tim Canova may file an FEC complaint against Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Tim Canova's campaign may file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston.

"We are exploring it quite seriously," said Canova's campaign manager Richard Bell. The campaign has a lawyer, Leonard Collins of Broad and Cassel, who is researching a potential FEC complaint which relates to information gleaned from the 19,000 party emails published by Wikileaks.

The emails were released Friday leading Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation Sunday.

Those emails showed that party staffers favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders

If the emails are authentic, “what they do is indicate not only has Debbie’s team had their thumb on the scale in the presidential race but it also seems in our campaign as well,” said Canova's campaign manager Richard Bell.

The emails show that the DNC was tracking Canova's media coverage and speaking engagements including what is referred to as an "Alaska Counter Event" in the emails. Canova, as well as Sanders' wife Jane, were scheduled to speak via Skype on the same evening that Wasserman Schultz was going to speak to the Alaska Democratic Party.

"This is all the FB post has so we need the state party to do some digging," wrote Luis Miranda, DNC spokesman.

The emails show that DNC staffers were working on Wasserman Schultz's primary even though they weren't paid by her campaign, Bell said.

Canova is her first primary reelection challenger in the Broward/Miami-Dade district since she was first elected in 2004. Sanders endorsed Canova.

Earlier this year Canova battled with the Florida Democratic Party to gain access to the voter file, which he eventually received. That's one of the topics in the DNC emails in which a staffer received a questions about whether Wasserman Schultz was involved in blocking Canova's access.

"Debbie was never involved in any way, shape or form," said Scott Arceneaux,  Florida Democratic Party executive director, in an one of the leaked emails.

This post will be updated if Wasserman Schultz's campaign responds.




July 24, 2016

Wasserman Schultz to step down as Democratic Party chair


PHILADELPHIA -- Engulfed by a political firestorm over damning leaked emails,, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Sunday she will step down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Her resignation will be effective at the end of the Democratic National Convention, which starts Monday and ends Thursday in Philadelphia.

Story will be updated here

Here's her statement:

I have been privileged to serve as the DNC Chair for five and a half years helping to re-elect President Obama and Vice President Biden, strengthening our State Party Partnership in all 50 states, leading a vigorous primary election this past year while preparing for the general election and representing millions of Democrats across the country. I couldn’t be more excited that Democrats are nominating our first woman presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, a friend I have always believed in and know will be a great President.

We arrived here in Philadelphia with the most inclusive and progressive platform the party has ever proposed and a unified recommendation from the Rules Committee on our path forward as Democrats. I am proud of my role in leading these efforts.

My first priority has always been serving the people of the 23rd district of Florida and I look forward to continuing to do that as their member of Congress for years to come. As the mother of my three amazing children and the Representative of Florida’s 23rd congressional district, I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America’s future. I look forward to serving as a surrogate for her campaign in Florida and across the country to ensure her victory.

Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention. As Party Chair, this week I will open and close the Convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans. We have planned a great and unified Convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had.

I’ve been proud to serve as the first woman nominated by a sitting president as Chair of the Democratic National Committee and I am confident that the strong team in place will lead our party effectively through this election to elect Hillary Clinton as our 45th president.


Debbie Wasserman Schultz's tricky role at Democratic convention


A week before the start of the Democratic National Convention, its chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, strolled into the arena — of the opposing party’s presidential convention.

Heads turned. What’s she doing here, mouthed incredulous Republicans at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

But Wasserman Schultz, persona non grata at the GOP, wasn’t engaging in covert political ops. She was being escorted into one of CNN’s makeshift studios to do what she does best: aggressively deliver the Democratic Party line.

“We should never let Donald Trump anywhere near the White House,” she said in another CNN appearance later in the week.

Consider it a warm-up for the Democratic convention, which begins Monday in Philadelphia and which will mark the culmination of more than a year’s work for the Weston congresswoman.

For Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee, the convention will feel like a coronation. For Wasserman Schultz, the target of devotees of Clinton rival Bernie Sanders, it will probably feel much different. The woman tasked with holding the national party together is one of the reasons some of them feel divided.

On Friday, the WikiLeaks website published a trove of more than 19,000 Democratic National Committee emails that detail the party’s rancorous relationship with Sanders’ campaign. Last month, Wasserman Schultz acknowledged a “serious” email breach, that people knowledgeable about the incident blamed on Russian hackers.

More here.

UPDATE: CNN reports Wasserman Schultz won't deliver a convention speech -- unlike her Republican counterpart Reince Priebus last week -- "to keep the peace" among delegates in the wake of the email leak.

July 20, 2016

Wasserman Schultz leads 'counter-convention' in Cleveland



CLEVELAND -- Back in the day, a political party took a bit of a break when its rival party held a presidential nominating convention. Not anymore.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, and a host of other top Democrats are in Cleveland this week -- for the Republican Party Convention.

Every day, Wasserman Schultz holds a news conference to push back at the GOP's convention message. She's even made it into the convention hall, to sit on makeshift cable news sets.

"This is a counter-convention. That's exactly what we've termed it," she told reporters Wednesday, at the DNC's cramped conference room a few floors above a downtown Cleveland pub. "There's just too much at stake" to give the other party a week of uncontested press coverage, she added.

In her role as national Democrats' chief attack dog, Wasserman Schultz called Tuesday night at the convention "a fact-checker's dream." "It's unbelievable the negativity that is emanating from this convention," she said.

Continue reading "Wasserman Schultz leads 'counter-convention' in Cleveland" »

July 13, 2016

Tim Canova attacks Debbie Wasserman Schultz on radio

Tim Canova has released three radio ads attacking his primary rival U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston.

The ad "I believe"  calls Wasserman Schultz, first elected in 2004, an "insider."

"Sadly, today, she takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from industries like Big Sugar, Wall Street banks, predatory lenders and private prisons. I believe you either represent the corporate lobbyists or you represent the people. You cannot do both." 

Here's some background from PolitiFact Florida about her bank donations and position on payday lenders.

The ad "Values" makes some similar claims. 

The last ad, "What happened to America?" is similar to a TV ad he released over the weekend.

Two of the ads attack Wasserman Schultz for taking donations from Big Sugar -- a hot topic in Florida right now as a result of the toxic algae bloom. Wasserman Schultz's campaign and leadership PAC have taken $201,450 in donations between 2004-2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. She is one of many Florida politicians to take money from an industry that gave about $57.8 million to state and local campaigns since 1994, a Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times analysis found.

Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, is challenging Wasserman Schultz in a Broward/Miami-Dade congressional district in the Aug. 30 primary. This is the first primary reelection challenge she has faced in Congress.



July 11, 2016

Florida LGBT caucus endorses Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The caucus of the Florida Democratic Party that represents gays and lesbians announced today that it has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Clinton did not go on record supporting same-sex marriage until 2013. As PolitiFact reported, Clinton opposed same-sex marriage as a candidate for the Senate, while in office as a senator, and while running for president in 2008. She expressed her support for civil unions starting in 2000 and for the rights’ of states to set their own laws in favor of same-sex marriage in 2006.

As polls showed that a majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage, Clinton’s views changed, too. She announced her support for same-sex marriage in March 2013.

Other endorsements by the Florida LGBTA caucus include U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston and Bob Poe, who is running for Congress in Orlando and is openly gay and HIV-positive. The caucus also endorsed Carlos Guillermo Smith and Beth Tuura for state House in central Florida. 

Tim Canova hits Debbie Wasserman Schultz in first TV ads

Tim Canova launched his first TV ads against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, on July 11th.

The ads will air on cable on MSNBC, CNN and BET. Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor from Hollywood, is running against Wasserman Schultz in a Broward/Miami-Dade district in the Aug. 30 primary.

One ad "America" introduces Canova to voters.

"As a professor, I've dedicated my life to educating people about the law, about Wall Street's excesses and corporate greed....And the same career politicians get reelected, then we wonder why Washington is broken."

Those "same career politicians" appear in brief clips in the ad including Wasserman Schultz followed by a string of Republicans including Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Wasserman Schultz hasn't had ads on TV yet. As for whether she will debate Canova, her campaign spokesman Ryan Banfill told the Miami Herald: 

"The Congresswoman is actively engaged in the debates that are important to people in her district which are the gun violence issue and the Zika funding issue in Congress. The debate over the future direction of the country and importance of defeating Donald Trump and those issues are her primary focus."


The second ad he calls "DebbieDodgesDebate" bashes Wasserman Schultz for not committing to debate Canova. The ad includes multiple clips of her being asked if she would debate her opponent.


July 07, 2016

Fact-checking Debbie Wasserman Schultz's stat about gun deaths

In the wake of the Orlando shootings and lacking congressional action regarding gun reform legislation, many are calling attention to the the devastating truths about gun violence in the United States. One of the vocal supporters advocating for tighter gun restrictions is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

Wasserman Schultz took to her Medium page to lament the occurrence at Pulse Night Club and to express the need for stricter gun legislation that she believes can prevent future gun violence fatalities, especially by suspected terrorists.

In her June 18, 2016, post, Wasserman Schultz wrote that "40% of Americans know someone who has been killed by a gun — gun violence has touched someone you know."

Many other politicians have made many claims regarding gun violence, but this assertion seemed particularly far-reaching. Do two out of every five Americans know someone whose death can be attributed to a gun? 

See what Taylor Leighton of PolitiFact Florida found and see her full Truth-O-Meter record.

June 17, 2016

What we don't know about the Debbie Wasserman Schultz vs Tim Canova primary

Both U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her primary challenger Tim Canova will be at the Florida Leadership Blue Gala Saturday in Hollywood.

Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, will speak at the event where New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is the keynote speaker. The event is a chance for Canova, a Hollywood resident and Nova Southeastern University law professor, to spread his message among party activists.

This is the first time Wasserman Schultz of Weston has faced a primary challenge since she first won the seat since 2004. They are competing in a liberal district that largely lies in Broward and dips into northern Miami-Dade County.

Here are four key things we don’t know about the Debbie Wasserman Schultz vs Tim Canova primary:

1. What the polls show

There have been no public polls or internal polls released so far. A poll in the district would answer questions about Canova’s name recognition and if Wasserman Schultz is vulnerable on any particular issues -- such as her position in favor of the Iran deal -- or with any segment of the Democratic primary electorate.

2. How much local voters care about Wasserman Schultz’s woes as DNC chair

The main thing that Wasserman Schultz has taken hits for in the media for months is her leadership of the Democratic National Committee. Bernie Sanders and his supporters have slammed her for months, calling for her ouster and accusing her of favoring Hillary Clinton, which she denies. But district voters may care more about her positions on issues such as favoring abortion and gay rights, equal pay for women and her record fighting Republicans than they do about her party leadership. Plus, her district voted for Clinton over Sanders 68-31 percent in the March 15th primary so the criticism by the Sanders’ folks may not mean much.

3. What Wasserman Schultz’s stance on medical marijuana will mean for the race

Wasserman Schultz opposed the medical marijuana amendment in 2014 which was supported by 58 percent of Florida voters, two points shy of the threshold to amend the state constitution. Her opposition angered Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan who funded the amendment last time and again for this year. Morgan has threatened to form a PAC in an effort to defeat Wasserman Schultz but he told the Herald he is waiting for a poll to emerge before making a decision about investing in the race (see no. 1 above). Wasserman Schultz has said she is “evaluating” the 2016 amendment but she could avoid taking a stance until after the Aug. 30th primary since the amendment is on the November ballot. Although many Broward voters disagree with her opposition to the 2014 amendment, will they punish her for that?

4. How many of Canova’s donors live in the district

Canova’s $2 million fundraising haul between January and mid-June is impressive for a first-time candidate. A good portion of that was fueled by Sanders saying on national TV in May that he is backing Canova. But it’s unclear how much of that money comes from voters who live in the district. A Center for Responsive Politics analysis of Canova’s donations through March -- so based on about one-quarter of his haul now -- showed that the majority of his donations over $200 came from outside of Florida. But the vast majority of his donations come from small donations and campaigns don’t have to report where those donors live. There’s nothing wrong or unusual about out of district donations and money is money when it comes to funding ads on TV, print, radio and mailers. But it means we don’t know how many of these donors can vote for Canova Aug. 30.

June 16, 2016

Tim Canova raises $2 million in race against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Broward Congressional race

Tim Canova has raised more than $2 million in his Democratic primary battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston.

He has raised $2,054,332.57 since he launched his campaign in January. Canova's campaign said that he raised money from 58,421 individual donors and the average contribution was $17.16.

His campaign did not release information on what percentage of those donations have come from outside of Florida. An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of his donations above $200 through March found that the majority were from out of state, however that provides an incomplete picture because most of his donations are below that threshold and therefore the campaign doesn't have to report where the donors live.

Wasserman Schultz raised $1.8 million through March and hasn't announced an update on her fundraising. She has been endorsed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was going to host a fundraiser for her last weekend but it was cancelled due to the Orlando shooting massacre.

Canova and Wasserman Schultz are competing in the left-leaning District 23 which mostly lies in Broward County and includes part of northern Miami-Dade. The primary is Aug. 30.

Canova, a Hollywood resident, said in a press release: “People all over Florida and all over our district are supporting our campaign for change. They have had enough of a political system that is awash in corporate money and corporate influence. We all have an interest in a decent jobs market, affordable prescription drug prices and health care, educational opportunities, and safe and healthy communities.  Wasserman Schultz’s corporate donors are often standing in the way of progress for all.” 

Canova, a first-time candidate and Nova Southeastern University law professor, got a big boost to his fundraising when Bernie Sanders announced in May that he is supporting Canova. Sanders named Canova to a committee about financial reform in 2011. Sanders has been critical of Wasserman Schultz's leadership of the Democratic National Committee where he says she has favored Hillary Clinton, a charge she has denied. Sanders wants Wasserman Schultz ousted from the DNC. 

The Clinton campaign installed a general election chief of staff of the DNC Thursday: Brandon Davis, who was formerly the political director of the Service Employees International Union. It's common practice for the presumptive party nominee to take the reins at the DNC. Wasserman Schultz welcomed Davis at party headquarters Thursday morning, CNN reported.

This post has been updated to correct the title of Davis.