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.




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.