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.




May 22, 2016

Bernie Sanders makes fundraising appeal for Debbie Wasserman Schultz's opponent

Bernie Sanders made a fundraising appeal today for Tim Canova, the Democratic running against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Sanders told CNN's State of the Union this weekend that he is backing Canova, a first-time candidate and Nova Southeastern University law professor. Sanders has accused Wasserman Schultz of siding with his rival Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz has repeatedly denied any favoritism and issued a statement Saturday saying she is neutral in the primary.

"The political revolution is not just about electing a president," states the email from the Sanders campaign. "We need a Congress with members who believe, like Bernie, that we cannot change a corrupt system by taking its money. So let me introduce you to Tim Canova, a progressive challenger who is running against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a Democratic primary in Florida this year. Tim endorsed Bernie’s presidential campaign, and was inspired to run because of Wasserman Schultz’ support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. His campaign is funded like ours, by lots of people giving small amounts of money."

Canova's campaign recently announced that he had raised $1 million. Wasserman Schultz raised $1.8 million through March and hasn't announced any updated figure. The next fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission July 15.

The candidates will face off in the Aug. 30th primary for the Broward/Miami-Dade seat. The district leans left so the main contest is in the primary. 


May 21, 2016

Bernie Sanders backs Debbie Wasserman Schultz's opponent

Bernie Sanders told CNN that he will back U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Democratic primary opponent in South Florida.

Sanders said in an interview for CNN's State of the Union that he will back Tim Canova, a first-time candidate who has raised more than $1 million since he jumped into the race in January. That still puts him behind Wasserman Schultz who has at least $1.8 million, but Canova's fundraising prowess has earned him national attention.

"Well, clearly, I favor her opponent," Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper. "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz's."

Sanders' announcement wasn't surprising given his ongoing feud with Wasserman Schultz and his relationship with Canova, who is now a Nova Southeastern University law professor who specializes in public finance. In 2011, Sanders chose Canova to serve on an advisory committee on federal reserve reform. And Canova has echoed many of Sanders' campaign themes -- particularly his desire for campaign finance reform. 

Sanders has argued for months that Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee which she chairs have favored Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary including with an initially limited debate schedule. Wasserman Schultz co-chaired Clinton's first presidential bid in 2007 but has denied any favoritism during the 2016 primary.

In a statement, Wasserman Schultz responded: "I am so proud to serve the people of Florida's 23rd district and I am confident that they know that I am an effective fighter and advocate on their behalf in Congress.  Even though Senator Sanders has endorsed my opponent I remain, as I have been from the beginning, neutral in the Presidential Democratic primary. I look forward to working together with him for Democratic victories in the fall."

Canova said in a statement: "I'm so proud to know that Bernie Sanders favors our campaign for progress for all. Like Senator Sanders, I'm running a campaign that's truly backed by the people, not big corporations-- one that stands up to Wall Street interests instead of cozying up to them. Together, I feel confident that our campaign of nurses, teachers, students, seniors and working class Floridians can work together to demand accountability from our leaders, and offer a more positive path forward to the people of Florida's 23rd district."

Canova, who lives in Hollywood, and Wasserman Schultz, who lives in Weston, are competing in the Aug. 30 primary in the liberal Broward/Miami-Dade district.

Clinton beat Sanders in the district -- and Florida -- in a landslide in the March 15 primary. The challenge for Canova is to see if he can inspire Sanders' supporters -- and other Democrats in the district -- to topple a longtime incumbent with broad name recognition. Wasserman Schultz is well-known in Broward County where she was first elected to the state Legislature in 1992.

Clinton speaks in Fort Lauderdale Saturday night at a gala for the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

This is the first time that Wasserman Schultz has faced a primary opponent in a reelection since first winning the seat in 2004. Since then she has easily beaten longshot Republican candidates. President Barack Obama named Wasserman Schultz DNC chair in 2011.

May 18, 2016

Civil war in Democratic Party? Wasserman Schultz vs. Sanders

Just as she wants to focus all of her energy on the other party, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in the middle of a nasty brawl with one of her own party’s presidential candidates

The South Florida lawmaker, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, is openly fighting with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a clash that came to a head after a violent melee at a state Democratic Party meeting in Nevada over the weekend where Sanders supporters threw chairs and threatened state party officials, using vulgar sexist language at times.

Wasserman Schultz criticized Sanders’ response as insufficiently critical of his supporters. He and his campaign manager, in turn, are escalating complaints that Wasserman Schultz has used the party machinery to help her friend Hillary Clinton. All this comes at the very moment Wasserman Schultz had hoped Democrats would start to unify and turn their attention to the Republicans and Donald Trump.

Read more here:


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May 13, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz challenger Tim Canova raises $1 million

Tim Canova says he has raised $1 million in his Democratic primary battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a sign that she faces her first election battle in more than two decades for the South Florida seat.

Canova’s campaign announced hitting that milestone on Friday.

His campaign said that he had raised $1,017,632.57 since starting about four months ago. The average contribution was $18.55, and 98 percent were from donors who gave less than $200, according to his campaign.

“We are proud that our campaign is powered by average people like teachers, nurses, small business owners, union members, students, and seniors,” Canova said in a press release. “We truly are a grassroots movement that will restore a voice in our democracy to everyday people and demand accountability from our leaders.”

Wasserman Schultz remains ahead of Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, in fundraising. She raised $1.8 million through March — her campaign won’t reveal how much she has raised since that time. Their next campaign reports are due to the Federal Election Commission July 15.

Canova’s surprisingly strong fundraising for a first-time candidate has forced Wasserman Schultz to campaign more in earnest than she has in past reelection cycles, when she easily swatted away long-shot Republican candidates in the liberal district that stretches from her Weston home into Miami-Dade.

Wasserman Schultz last faced a true election battle in 1992, when she ran in a Democratic primary for the state House and won. She easily won her first congressional race in 2004, facing only a Republican opponent. In 2011, President Barack Obama tapped her as Democratic National Committee chair.

More here.

May 12, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden to fundraise for Debbie Wasserman Schultz in South Florida

Vice President Joe Biden will headline a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, in early June.

Stephen Bittel, a developer who lives in Coconut Grove, told the Miami Herald that he is hosting the fundraiser. 

It''s no surprise that Biden is supporting Wasserman Schultz who is President Barack Obama's Democratic National Committee chair.

But his presence at a fundraiser for her is another sign that Wasserman Schultz is taking her Democratic primary challenger -- Tim Canova -- seriously. Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, said in a fundraising email earlier this week that he is close to raising $1 million -- a huge sum for a first-time candidate who started his campaign in January.

Wasserman Schultz raised $1.8 million through March but hasn't announced what she has raised since that time.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is hosting a fundraiser for Wasserman Schultz on Monday.

The race in Congressional District 23 which spans Broward and Miami-Dade counties is expected to be one of the most expensive Democratic primaries in South Florida. 

May 10, 2016

Payday lenders have given millions to Florida politicians

Payday lenders have donated about $2.5 million to Florida politicians and and both political parties in recent years, according to a new analysis by a liberal group.

Allied Progress has drawn attention to the issue of payday lending in Florida by attacking U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic national committee chair, and other politicians who have taken money from the industry.

The group gave the Miami Herald an advanced copy of its new report, “A Florida Plan: How Payday lenders bought Florida’s political establishment.” The report lists donations given to federal and state candidates as well as the state’s Republican and Democratic parties since 2009.

Overall, Republicans received $1.6 million and Democrats received about $890,000, while $29,000 went to independents. But the top individual recipients were South Florida Democrats.

Keep reading from the Miami Herald.

May 01, 2016

Florida politicians spotted at White House Correspondents Dinner


WASHINGTON -- Florida was in the house Saturday night at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where President Obama and comedian Larry Wilmore roasted politicians and the press.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott worked the room before and during the speech, dropping by the Washington Post's pre-dinner reception and eventually taking a seat at the Washington Hilton ballroom for the meal. He was invited by the Washington Examiner, Scott told the Miami Herald.

Also making the rounds were U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, who also attended a Friday night bash ahead of the dinner, according to Page Six.

And near the center aisle of the dinner sat Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a Democrat who was listed in the program as a representative of SiriusXM, the satellite radio network that earlier this year hired him to host a show. He was mulling whether to return to Miami early enough Sunday to catch the Miami Heat's afternoon playoff game. 

April 26, 2016

Payday loan attacks coming for another Florida member of Congress

via @learyreports

A liberal group that has run ads against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her support for payday lenders is looking for a new target.

Allied Progress says it will launch a new campaign against a Florida House member based on online voting. The “winner” will  be announced May 10.

Those up for consideration are Reps. Corrine Brown, Kathy Castor, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Patrick Murphy, Bill Posey and Dennis Ross.

“Each has received at least $10,000 in campaign contributions from the payday industry,” according to the group, “signed a letter encouraging Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Richard Cordray to adopt the disastrous ‘Florida model’ of payday lending reform, and either sponsored or cosponsored H.R. 4018 which would gut the CFPB’s upcoming payday loan regulations by delaying those new rules in favor of states with Florida-style laws.”

Wasserman Schultz has faced a TV ad, billboards and negative press. Her Democratic opponent has seized the issue as well.


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

April 21, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz attacks Tim Canova for taking money outside of Florida

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has attacked her Democratic challenger Tim Canova for having the bulk of his donations come from outside of Florida.

Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, raised about $559,000 in the first three months of 2016 as a first-time candidate.

From Wasserman Schultz's fundraising email for her Broward/Miami-Dade congressional seat:

“There’s something you should know. First quarter fundraising numbers are in. One of my six opponents raised a large amount of money. But at least 90% of his cash is flowing in from donors outside of Florida. Also outsider SuperPACs have attacked me earlier than ever before.

I represent South Floridians in Congress and I believe the voices of South Floridians should be heard the loudest -- not those of outside donors and groups.

Except, this year, outsiders seem to think they know what’s best for South Florida. They’re trying to defeat us, and they’re not backing down.”

The Center for Responsive Politics shows the top metro areas where donors live for each candidate. The highest amount of donations for Wasserman Schultz came from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Orlando, and Sarasota-Bradenton. For Canova, the top metro areas were New York, Los Angeles-Long Beach, the Boston area, Washington D.C. area and Chicago.

Wasserman Schultz, who lives in Weston, had about $840,000 cash on hand as of the end of March while Canova, who lives in Hollywood, had about $460,000.

Congressional candidates are allowed to take money from donors from anywhere in the U.S. and it’s no surprise that Canova would receive money from those in other states who are unhappy with her national role as Democratic National Committee chair.

For Canova to raise enough money for a serious challenge including for TV advertising, he will need donors from beyond Florida. However since many of his donations are outside of Congressional District 23 it’s difficult to predict how he will fare at the ballot box Aug. 30. No polls have been released yet.

First elected to Congress in 2004, Wasserman Schultz has never faced a primary challenger in re-elections in the Democratic district. 

Canova countered with his own fundraising email seizing upon his “outsider” status.

“We don’t have the support of the lobbyists, corporate PACs, or any other Insiders. And we don’t want their support, because we are the grassroots. Now it’s up to us to make sure that their Washington Insider dollars are no match for our team of ‘Outsiders.’”

PAC donations comprise about one in five dollars raised by Wasserman Schultz while Canova has received no PAC money.