August 21, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz ahead of Tim Canova, Sun Sentinel poll finds


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is ahead of Tim Canova by 10 percentage points, according to a new Sun Sentinel/Florida Atlantic University poll.

The poll found that 50 percent of likely Democratic voters chose Wasserman Schultz and 40 percent chose Canova. The poll found that Wasserman Schultz did better among men, older voters and Hillary Clinton supporters. Canova did better among younger voters, Bernie Sanders supporters and those who have an unfavorable view of President Barack Obama

"It's a little tighter than you would expect in a primary of an incumbent, a well-financed Democrat but this is an unusual race with a little bit more of a national focus," FAU political scientist Kevin Wagner told the Miami Herald.

For Canova to win, he will have to drive up turnout among younger voters but typically older Americans vote more often.

"Barack Obama turned out much younger voters at a higher rate than historically expected," Wagner said. "It's hard to say in a single congressional district if you could repeat that younger person turnout."

Obama endorsed Wasserman Schultz and Clinton campaigned for her in South Florida -- as did Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders endorsed Canova, a first-time candidate and Nova Southeastern University law professor. Clinton won the district with 68 percent of the vote in the March 15 presidential primary.

"Barack Obama is relatively popular there among the Democrats, as is Hillary Clinton. That support translates pretty well" for Wasserman Schultz, Wagner told the Sun Sentinel. "A candidate like Canova who is challenging the system "would probably do better in a district that is more dissatisfied with the Democratic leadership."

Canova's campaign got a boost in donations and media attention in July after Wasserman Schultz stepped down as Democratic National Committee chair after WikiLeaks published thousands of DNC emails. Those emails showed that the DNC favored Clinton over Sanders -- something Wasserman Schultz had denied for months.

But the poll found the national scandal has only slightly hurt her among South Florida voters. The email revelations led 35 percent to say they were less likely to vote for her, 29 percent more likely to vote for her and for 36 percent it made no difference.

After Wasserman Schultz came out in favor of the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, there were questions about whether it would cost her Jewish support in the district -- one of the most heavily Jewish districts in Florida. The poll found that 43 percent of likely Democratic voters back the deal, 17 percent oppose, 31 percent undecided and 9 percent never heard of it.

Respondents who favor the Iran nuclear deal support Wasserman Schultz -- who backed the deal -- while opponents of the deal support Canova. While Canova has bashed Wasserman Schultz for supporting the deal and aligned himself with opponents, he has often said he isn't certain how he would have voted if he was in Congress.

The poll also found geographic differences in the district that stretches from western Broward to northern Miami-Dade County. Wasserman Schultz has a commanding lead in the Weston area where she lives while Canova is far ahead in the Hollywood area where she lives. Other portions of the district including Pembroke Pines and Davie are more competitive.

The poll of 400 likely voters was done Wednesday to Friday and has a margin of error of 5 percent.

This is the first poll in the race done by a media outlet. A poll done by Canova's campaign showed that he was eight points behind but that 60 percent of voters don't know him while a poll by a PAC supporting Wasserman Schultz showed she is 33 points ahead.

The Democrats are competing in the Aug. 30 primary but voting by mail and early voting has already started.

August 19, 2016

Can Debbie Wasserman Schultz catch up to Tim Canova's fundraising?


Can U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz catch up to Tim Canova's fundraising haul with less than two weeks to go?

Canova raised $3.3 million while Wasserman Schultz raised $3.1 million through Aug. 10, campaign finance reports show. It's rare for a first-time candidate to raise more than a long-time incumbent -- but he did it with the help of Bernie Sanders' fans across the country.

Since that date, Wasserman Schultz's additional reports show that she raised about $100,000 more. Dollars raised in the homestretch can help the candidates advertise and with get out the vote efforts, but it's also a matter of pride for Wasserman Schultz to show she can ramp up her fundraising machine when she needs it. 

The Democrats are competing in the Aug. 30 primary in a Broward/Miami-Dade district.

- With Nicholas Nehamas

John Lewis to campaign for Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Broward


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is facing a feisty Democratic challenge from Tim Canova, is bringing in yet another big Democratic name to campaign for her -- this time it's U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

They will appear at Immanuel Temple AME church, an African-American church, in Pembroke Pines Sunday morning. Wasserman Schultz and Lewis will also appear at the Sunrise Civic Center at 1 p.m. and walk to early voting. Lewis, a civil rights icon, led the House sit-in this summer seeking gun legislation following the Orlando shooting massacre.

Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords have all campaigned for Wasserman Schultz in South Florida while President Barack Obama endorsed her.

Canova's biggest name backer is Bernie Sanders who has helped the first-time candidate's warchest. But so far, no specific plans have been announced by Sanders to campaign for Canova in the Broward/Miami-Dade district before the Aug. 30 primary. 

Early voting in Broward, where most of the district lies, starts Saturday.

Broward early voting starts Saturday

Broward County starts early voting on Saturday for the U.S. Senate, congressional and local races.

Early voting will be open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 20-28. Here are the locations throughout the county including the sites where people can drop off mail ballots. Through Aug. 15, about 42,000 people in Broward have voted by mail.

The hottest races on the Broward ballot include a few Democratic contests: the U.S. Senate battle between Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is trying to fend off feisty challenger Tim Canova and Gary Farmer who is running against Jim Waldman for a state legislative seat. Broward voters are also casting ballots in school board and judicial races.

Early voting in several counties including Miami-Dade is already underway.


August 18, 2016

Tim Canova outraised Debbie Wasserman Schultz


Tim Canova outraised U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz during the most recent reporting period.

Canova raised $1 million while Wasserman Schultz raised about $300,000 between July 1 and Aug. 10, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. 

But she remained ahead in cash on hand with about $1 million remaining while he had $476,000. 

Throughout the election cycle through Aug. 10, Canova has raised about $3.3 million while Wasserman Schultz has raised $3.1 million. She has been closing the gap with multiple donations between $1,000 and $2,700 in recent days. That's an impressive haul for Canova, a first-time candidate and Nova Southeastern University law professor who is challenging an incumbent who first won office in 1992 for state house.

Canova got a boost in fundraising after Bernie Sanders announced his support for Canova and after Wasserman Schultz stepped down as Democratic National Committee chair. 

The Democrats are competing in the Aug. 30 primary in a district that stretches from western Broward to northern Miami-Dade County. 

This blog was updated after Wasserman Schultz's report posted at the FEC.

EMILY's List endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Debbie Wasserman Schultz


The powerful women-in-politics group, EMILY's List, has formally endorsed Weston Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who's facing her first primary challenge in more than two decades.

EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock praised Wasserman Schultz as a "dedicated progressive public servant who has never stopped fighting for the hardworking families of Florida."

"Debbie has championed breast cancer advocacy, protected Social Security, and fought back against attacks on women’s access to health care," Schriock said in a statement. "As the first Jewish woman elected to represent Florida, Debbie has always been a trailblazer. The EMILY’s List community, over 3 million members strong, looks forward to supporting her bid for re-election."

EMILY's List -- which stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast -- works to help raise money for and elect women to public office.

Wasserman Schultz is in a tough primary battle against the progressive and Bernie Sanders-backed Tim Canova, who wants to unseat the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman in Florida's 23rd Congressional District. The district includes parts of Broward and northern Miami-Dade counties.

The last time Wasserman Schultz faced a primary opponent was 1992, when she ran for the state Legislature.

PolitiFact Florida: Tim Canova's Half Flip on Iran nuclear deal


The Iran nuclear deal has been a hot topic in the Democratic primary battle between U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and challenger Tim Canova. The South Florida district is heavily Jewish, and Israel has been skeptical of the deal.

In a mailer, Canova sided with three Jewish members of Congress who voted against the deal.

"In challenging times Israel needs true friends in Congress. When called on to protect Israel, some legislators step up," states the mailer, showing photos of U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel of Palm Beach County and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. "Others don’t. Debbie Wasserman Schultz waffled back and forth before voting for the Iran nuclear deal, choosing party and personal political ambition over principle."

But how would Canova have voted on the deal? His answers haven’t been clear. In adebate on CBS4, host Jim DeFede asked Canova to clarify his position.

We decided to look at Canova’s statements about the Iran deal and put them on our Flip-O-Meter, which examines a candidate’s record on a topic without casting a value judgment on any changes. We found that Canova hasn’t really changed position, but he hasn’t always provided full answers, either.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

August 15, 2016

After Debbie Wasserman Schultz attacks Tim Canova over Middle East statement he changes website


During the CBS4 debate Sunday, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused her rival Tim Canova of wanting to force Israel to disarm -- a charge with implications at the ballot box in the heavily Jewish South Florida district.

Canova's website had stated: "The U.S. must do everything in its power to reverse the militarization of the region, including full diplomatic efforts to negotiate a general disarmament for the entire region that includes nuclear, missile, and conventional arms reductions. We should recognize that peace and security for Israel, the U.S., and the rest of the world is no longer possible without general disarmament and fundamental political and social reforms throughout the Middle East. We must work to bring about such reform as much as possible through non-violent peaceful means using the full range of U.S. economic and diplomatic power."

Canova shot back that he didn't mean to suggest that Israel should disarm -- he meant Saudia Arabia and Iran. But he had made similar statements in the past about generally disarming the Middle East.

After the debate, Canova said that the wording on his website was an "oversight" and that it would be changed. The new portion is in italics:

"We should recognize that peace and security for Israel, the U.S., and the rest of the world is no longer possible without general disarmament and fundamental political and social reforms - specifically in Iran, Saudia Arabia and among other state sponsors of terror - throughout the Middle East.  We must work to bring about such reform as much as possible through non-violent peaceful means using the full range of U.S. economic and diplomatic power."

Wasserman Schultz's campaign spokesman Ryan Banfill said in a statement: “Canova changed his website but he can’t change the record. He’s been calling for the disarmament of Israel since January. This wasn’t an oversight, it was an extremely naive and dangerous error.”

Canova and Wasserman Schultz are running in the Aug. 30 primary in Congressional District 23 which stretches from western Broward to northern Miami-Dade. Voters have already started casting ballots by mail.

August 11, 2016

Bernie Sanders' consultants exit Tim Canova campaign

Canova (1)

Just a couple of weeks after joining Tim Canova's South Florida congressional campaign, media consultants for Bernie Sanders have exited Canova's team.

The firm run by Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey and Mark Longabaugh was hired by Canova in late July. Canova is battling against longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz for a Broward/Miami-Dade seat.

Canova told the Miami Herald that the firm is no longer working on his campaign after we asked him about a Politico article about that.

"They worked for my campaign for only a couple of weeks," Canova said. "We simply realized rather quickly that we already have plenty of creative talent right here in South Florida, the same local talent that's produced our ads introducing me and on my opponent dodging debates. DML was great, they offered excellent advice on a number of fronts. We have not closed the door on working together in the future."

The firm was behind Sanders' "America" ad which featured the Simon and Garfunkel song.

Sanders endorsed Canova and has helped him boost his fundraising. Wasserman Schultz has the backing of President Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.

The candidates will hold their first -- and likely only -- debate Sunday before the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

Debate tiff ends: Canova and Wasserman Schultz agree to CBS4 debate


After originally rejecting an offer to debate U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tim Canova agreed Thursday to do it after all, after a TV station said it would lengthen the time for the encounter.

The 8 a.m. Sunday debate will air on CBS4’s “Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede” and last one hour — twice as long as the show’s normal time slot.

For months, Canova, running in the Democratic primary Aug. 30, sought debates with Wasserman Schultz and accused her of dodging him. On Wednesday, she finally agreed to the CBS4 debate.

“I look forward to a thoughtful conversation and robust debate that addresses the issues important to the people of Florida’s 23rd Congressional district,” she said in a statement.

But then it was Canova’s turn to shun a debate.

Canova’s campaign manager, Richard Bell, initially told the Miami Herald on Thursday that Canova “will not” participate in the debate, and Canova issued a statement bashing the idea of a 15-minute debate (although the show is a half hour with commercials).

“After four months of dodging debates and running scared, Wasserman Schultz now wants to schedule a 15 minute debate? If she believes one 15 minute debate is sufficient to defend her record, it shows she's learned nothing from her failures in scheduling debates at the DNC before her shameful resignation.”

If that was a ploy to get more free air-time by Canova, it worked.

On Thursday afternoon, CBS4 agreed to a one-hour format, and Wasserman Schultz and Canova both agreed to participate.

Keep reading here.