August 11, 2016

Tim Canova won't participate in CBS4 debate with Debbie Wasserman Schultz


Tim Canova's campaign manager Richard Bell told the Miami Herald today that Canova won't participate in a debate with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Sunday morning.

On Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz announced that she agreed to a debate on CBS4's Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede, a half-hour show at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. 

Wasserman Schultz is still expected to appear and CBS4 plans to leave a chair available for Canova.

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

Canova had sought debates with Wasserman Schultz for months and bashed her in a TV ad for not agreeing to a debate. Both candidates have previously appeared on Facing South Florida: Wasserman Schultz was interviewed by DeFede in April and on Sunday Canova was interviewed by CBS4's Eliott Rodriguez. When Rodriguez said it would be great to have Canova debate Wasserman Schultz on the show, Canova replied: "I would love that. I hope so." 

Canova recently called for three two-hour debates -- something that is more common for presidential or statewide debates than a Congressional district debate.

But now by refusing to debate on DeFede's show, Canova is missing his only chance so far to a debate before the Aug. 30 primary. He is skipping an opportunity to face his opponent and undergo questioning by DeFede, a top-notch investigative reporter who would have posed serious questions to both candidates. Meanwhile, voters are already casting ballots by mail -- so far 7,363 Democrats have voted in the Broward side of the district which represents the bulk of the voters.

Canova issued a statement today criticizing Wasserman Schultz. He says the debate would be 15-minutes but the show is 30 minutes although that includes 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.  In April, I proposed a series of real debates, and that's still my hope, that the voters will get the benefit of hearing us discuss the issues in more than one debate of at least two-hours each to cover a wide range of issues of importance to all of us.”

“When I first heard this news,” said Canova, “I thought it was a joke.  But actually it’s quite a disgrace and shows the arrogance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and once again her contempt for democracy.  The people of South Florida deserve better than a representative showing up for 15 minutes to defend her record."


August 10, 2016

Wasserman Schultz says she'll debate Canova on TV this Sunday


The campaign of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston said Wednesday it will debate Democratic primary opponent Tim Canova on Sunday, on Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4's "Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede."

DeFede said on Twitter that Canova has yet to confirm his attendance. Canova's campaign was told of Wasserman Schultz's willingness to debate only Wednessay afternoon.

Canova has clamored for a debate for weeks. Wasserman Schultz told the Herald editorial board last week that she would face off against the Nova Southeastern University law professor, her first challenger in 24 years.

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

Photo credit: Shannon Kaestle, Miami Herald staff

Bernie bucks keep pouring in for Wasserman Schultz rival Canova

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What is Bernie Sanders' endorsement worth?

For Florida congressional candidate Tim Canova, the answer so far is more than half a million bucks.

Sanders' campaign told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that it has helped raise more than $637,000 since May 22, when the Vermont senator and former Democratic presidential candidate began asking supporters to chip in for Canova.

Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, a Sanders foe. Sanders accused her of bias toward Hillary Clinton when Wasserman Schultz ran the Democratic National Committee. Leaked internal emails from the DNC showed late last month that Wasserman Schultz's staff favored Clinton, though Sanders' camp acknowledged that preference wasn't to blame for his loss to Clinton. Still, the email embarrassment cost Wasserman Schultz her high-profile role -- and forced her to step up campaigning after 24 years of running unopposed.

His endorsement of Canova was Sanders' first foray into congressional races this election cycle. Team Sanders sent supporters its latest Canova fundraising pitch Tuesday, on the same day Clinton traveled to Davie to endorse Wasserman Schultz. Since Tuesday alone, just under $300,000 has come in, according to a Sanders spokesman.

In all, the Canova contributions amount to $637,924.10 and came from 40,948 donations, each averaging $16.

Over the past few weeks, handwritten postcards from all over the country have poured into the Herald's editorial board from supporters urging for a Canova endorsement. Canova himself told the Herald he knew nothing about the postcard-writing campaign; one of Wasserman Schultz's chief criticisms of Canova is that he's an outsider whose support lies mostly outside the Broward/Miami-Dade County district.

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, el Nuevo Herald

Debbie Wasserman Schultz to hold gun meeting with Gabrielle Giffords


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will hold a gun safety meeting with former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Broward Thursday night.

In 2011, Giffords was holding a Congressional event in Arizona when a gunman shot her and 18 others, killing six. Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, who will also attend the meeting, have since become advocates for preventing gun violence. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, who faces re-election, and former State Sen. Nan Rich, who is running for Broward County Commission, will also participate in the 7 p.m. meeting at Temple Beth Emet in Cooper City.

In a press release, Wasserman Schultz stated that "every day, 89 people die from gun violence." In 2015, PolitiFact rated a similar claim by Hillary Clinton Mostly True. Most of those deaths are a result of suicides.

Wasserman Schultz is running against Tim Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary for a Broward/Miami-Dade congressional seat. She has been largely sticking to friendly venues in the district such as meetings her congressional staff help organize about Zika, gun safety or other topics and has generally avoided joint appearances with Canova.

Wasserman Schultz said in a statement earlier this week that she will release details about a debate with Canova this week. Canova has attacked Wasserman Schultz in a TV ad for not debating him so far.

Canova holds a town hall meeting in North Miami Beach Thursday at 7 p.m. at Winston Towers.

Photo by the AP at the 2012 Democratic convention

August 09, 2016

Clinton gives Wasserman Schultz a little political love

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In between a Miami Zika-clinic tour and a pair of Miami Beach fundraisers, Hillary Clinton and her motorcade made their way north on I-95 Tuesday for a Broward County pit stop.

Their destination: U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s campaign headquarters in Davie.

The Democratic presidential primary lives on in Florida’s 23rd congressional district.

Clinton formally endorsed Wasserman Schultz, who faces her first primary challenger in 24 years in Tim Canova, a political novice backed by Clinton’s former rival, Bernie Sanders.

“I have to have her in Congress, by my side, working day after day,” Clinton told diehard Wasserman Schultz supporters packed in the strip-mall campaign office. She hugged the Weston congresswoman and kissed her on the cheek — and told activists to give Wasserman Schultz a victory in the Aug. 30 Florida congressional primary.

“I really respect Debbie’s fighting spirit,” added Clinton.

More here.

Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

PolitiFact: Debbie Wasserman Schultz claim about Rick Scott and mosquito money stings, but it's misleading


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointed blame at Republicans -- namely Gov. Rick Scott -- for not doing more to dish out dollars to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.

"While he seems to be saying out loud that he wants Congress and the president to provide more funding, he conveniently leaves out that he cut nearly $1 million dollars from mosquito control and closed down the state’s mosquito research lab a few years ago," Wasserman Schultz said at a town hall in Broward County on Aug. 8.

Wasserman Schultz is running for re-election in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary against first-time candidate Tim Canova.

Did Scott cut funding and close the state’s mosquito research lab? There’s a lot more nuance to this story than Wasserman Schultz lets on.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

Photo by the Sun Sentinel

Bernie Sanders continues to fundraise for Tim Canova

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders sent another fundraising email today on behalf of Tim Canova who will face U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary Aug. 30.

"Much like in our campaign for president, Tim started off as a major underdog in this race, battling a well-known and well-established person who was the chairwoman of the Democratic Party," Sanders wrote. "He is running a tough campaign on the kind of progressive platform we need to see in this country: opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, backing free tuition at public colleges and universities, reforming a corrupt campaign finance system and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Tim is on the side of working people and that's why we need to help him win."

No word yet on whether Sanders will appear in the Broward/Miami-Dade district on behalf of Canova. During the Florida primary, Sanders lost the district by a landslide to Hillary Clinton. The only appearance by Sanders in Broward during the presidential primary was when he spoke to the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale in July 2015.

August 08, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she will announce debate details this week


It looks like Tim Canova and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will debate, but no details have been announced yet.

On Thursday, Wasserman Schultz told the Sun Sentinel editorial board that she would debate Canova, her primary opponent for a Broward/Miami-Dade congressional seat.

But nothing specific had been announced and after her Zika town hall today in Pembroke Pines she said she was "working on those details."

"Perhaps you have no intention of debating at all and that this was simply a smokescreen," Canova wrote in a letter to Wasserman Schultz today after asking her to debate for months.

This evening, Wasserman Schultz responded in a brief statement to the media: "I'm looking forward to debating my opponent on the issues that are most critical to the people of Florida's 23rd congressional district. I will announce details this week."

The opponents don't have much time left: the primary is Aug. 30th but voters have already started casting ballots by mail.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz bashes Rick Scott, Paul Ryan at Zika town hall


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointed the finger at Gov. Rick Scott and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan for not protecting Florida and the nation from Zika.

In a town hall at a senior center in Pembroke Pines Monday morning, Wasserman Schultz bashed the Republicans in Congress and Ryan for leaving on recess without reaching an agreement on Zika funding.

“The reason we don’t have that bill on the president’s desk is that Republicans decided they were going to attach all these unrelated political riders onto Zika,” she said. “There were provisions like taking out funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Wasserman Schultz was referring to a House bill that would have blocked the flow of money to Profamilias, the Planned Parenthood chapter in Puerto Rico. However, the bill also provided funds that would potentially help clinics and hospitals throughout the island.

For months, the Obama administration sought $1.9 billion in Zika funding but the Senate and House sought lesser amounts and failed to reach an agreement.

Wasserman Schultz also called out Scott, a Republican, for his funding decisions.

“Gov. Rick Scott while he seems to be saying out loud he wants Congress and the President to provide more funding he conveniently leaves out he cut nearly $1 million dollars from mosquito control and closed down the state’s mosquito research lab a few years ago,” she said.

In June, the state allocated $26.2 million but as of Friday the state had released $1.9 million. Of that, $316,800 went to Miami-Dade County and $221,635 went to Broward. The money is for prevention and test kits, insect repellent and other mosquito control efforts.

At a press gaggle after the event, Wasserman Schultz was asked about Sen. Marco Rubio’s comments to Politico that he would oppose abortion for a Zika-infected woman.

“Sen Rubio has definitely been an ally and has continually pushed for the president’s emergency supplemental appropriations request and I give him credit for that and I’ve been glad to work with him on that,” she said. “But it's irresponsible to put limitations on how we combat a virus that can result in birth defects -- life-threatening birth defects -- for the babies born to pregnant women who have contracted the Zika virus and those decisions should be left between a woman and her doctor and the government should not be interfering in those decisions.”

Rubio is a longtime opponent of abortion rights while Wasserman Schultz has been a consistent supporter of abortion rights.

Wasserman Schultz held her town hall at the SW Focal Point Senior Center where most of the seniors appeared to already be there for their regular mahjong, dominoes or poker game rather than specifically coming to hear Wasserman Schultz speak.

Only two of the 16 locally acquired cases have been in Broward while the rest have been in Miami-Dade. In total, there are 422 cases, most of them acquired while traveling. The list includes 55 women who are pregnant and the most at risk because the virus can cause severe birth defects.

While Zika may not be a top concern among voters in western Broward, it put her in front of a reliable fan base: Democratic voters. She needs those voters now more than ever before because for the first time in more than two decades she faces a Democratic challenger: Tim Canova, a first-time candidate and Nova Southeastern University law professor from Hollywood. The last time the Weston Democrat faced a primary was in 1992 when she ran for the state Legislature. The Democrats are competing for attention in the Aug. 30 primary although many voters are already casting ballots by mail.

Candidates and politicians have used the virus to attack opponents or political parties and have portrayed themselves as fighting to combat the virus. On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton visits a clinic in Miami’s Midtown neighborhood.

In recent months, Wasserman Schultz has largely avoided joint appearances with Canova and instead has stuck to events such as the Zika town hall. Last week Wasserman Schultz said she would debate Canova but no specifics have been announced yet.

Photo is from a town hall last week in Sunrise (Sun-Sentinel)



Tim Canova to file FEC complaint against Debbie Wasserman Schultz


Tim Canova said he will file a Federal Election Commission complaint today against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz related to the leaked Democratic National Committee emails.

“Wasserman Schultz had a fiduciary duty to the DNC and ultimately to the public to be a fair arbitrator and to separate her obligations as a candidate for federal office from her position as chair of a national committee, ..." states the complaint, according to a Canova press release. "She had a legal obligation to institute a firewall between her campaign and the DNC. Instead, the record establishes that she used her position with the DNC and the resources of the DNC to improperly benefit her congressional campaign.”
“The emails establish that on numerous occasions the DNC, under Wasserman Schultz's direction and control, used its resources to track my campaign, interfere with my campaign events and to assist the Wasserman Schultz campaign in her personal communications strategy,” Canova said.

Canova is running against Wasserman Schultz in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary for the Broward/Miami-Dade seat.

Wasserman Schultz stepped down as DNC chair in July after WikiLeaks published more than 19,000 emails. Some emails showed that the DNC was tracking Canova's campaign and media coverage.

In an interview with the Miami Herald editorial board last week, she denied that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

Wasserman Schultz's campaign spokesman had no comment because the complaint hasn't been filed yet.