August 02, 2016

More Democratic Party heads roll after Wasserman Schultz ouster


Three top staffers have left the Democratic Party in the wake of a leaked-emails scandal that last week cost U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz her job as chairwoman.

Democratic National Committee Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Amy Dacey, Communications Director Luis Miranda and Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall have left their positions, Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile announced Tuesday.

Brazile praised all three former employees, but there was no hiding the fact that they'd been caught in the political firestorm ignited by WikiLeaks. The website published a trove of DNC emails -- allegedly hacked by Russians -- revealing the party's inner workings and bias toward Hillary Clinton. Marshall was flagged in perhaps the most contentious email of all, suggesting Democrats question Clinton rival Bernie Sanders' belief in God. 

Miranda, who has Colombian roots and grew up in South Florida, drew flak from some liberal immigration advocates for writing in one of the leaked emails that federal protection for undocumented Central American children crossing the U.S. border would be "irresponsible."

"The problem is these groups don't want to hear this, they want us to send a message to Central Americans to keep paying smugglers and put those kids at risk of abuse and even death," Miranda wrote in May. "Frankly the rhetoric on this and calls for TPS [temporary protected status] are irresponsible, they send a message that ends up in more lives lost."

Before working for the DNC, Miranda headed Hispanic media outreach at the White House. He once staffed Al Gore's presidential campaign office in Miami-Dade County.

"As Communications Director, Luis has helped hold Republican candidates' feet to the fire, while ensuring Democrats nationwide articulate a clear contrast between the two parties," Brazile said in her Tuesday statement.

Donald Trump wrongly says Hillary Clinton is paying Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Donald Trump bashed Hillary Clinton at a rally in Harrisburg, PA Monday for giving U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz a position with her campaign after she stepped down as Democratic Party chair.

“Debbie Wasserman Schultz,” Trump said, slowly drawing out each word in her name eliciting boos from the crowd. “She’s a great one. ... I heard that she got fired so fast but I heard Hillary actually hired her for her campaign. You know why? I know why. So she is fired because she was crooked. She was fired and now Hillary hires her for her campaign and pays her with the campaign contributions that are monstrous.”

But Trump is wrong that Wasserman Schultz is getting paid in her role with the Clinton campaign.

On July 24, Clinton issued a statement naming Wasserman Schultz as  “honorary chair” of her campaign’s 50-state program. That means she won’t get paid, the Clinton campaign confirmed.

“I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid–because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people,” wrote Clinton.

The statement provided no details or schedule regarding Wasserman Schultz’s new role which was seen as a "thank you" gesture from the Clinton campaign.

And until Wasserman Schultz survives her own primary back home Aug. 30, she may not have time to do much for the Clinton campaign particularly beyond Florida. She faces Tim Canova, a law professor and first-time candidate backed by Bernie Sanders who has raised $2.8 million. They are competing in the left-leaning Broward/Miami-Dade Congressional District 23.

Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee on the eve of the convention following the publication by WikiLeaks of more than 19,000 DNC emails. Those emails showed that the DNC favored Clinton over Sanders -- a charge that Wasserman Schultz had denied for months.

August 01, 2016

Tim Canova has raised $2.8 million in race against Debbie Wasserman Schultz

With one month to go before the Aug. 30th primary, Tim Canova has raised nearly $2.8 million in his battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Canova raised $2,798,041.27 including $260,985 since Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as Democratic National Committee chair July 24, said his campaign manager Richard Bell. Her decision followed WikiLeaks posting thousands of DNC emails showing that the party favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders -- something Wasserman Schultz had denied doing for months.

Wasserman Schultz raised about $3.1 million while Canova raised about $2.3 million through June, the last report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Democrats are competing in Congressional District 23 which spans from western Broward to northern Miami-Dade County. Canova released a summary of a poll Sunday showing that he is eight points behind Wasserman Schultz.

Wasserman Schultz is facing the first primary of her career since 1992 when she ran for state House.

July 31, 2016

Canova's poll shows he is eight points behind Wasserman Schultz

A poll done for Tim Canova shows he is eight points behind longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The poll showed that Wasserman Schultz leads 46-38 percent with 16 percent undecided. Her lead narrows after the pollster provided positive and negative information about the candidates, but the press release from Canova's campaign didn't reveal the information provided to voters.

Canova and Wasserman Schultz are competing in a Democratic primary in the Broward/Miami-Dade Congressional District 23. The primary is Aug. 30th but voters are already casting ballots by mail. 

The poll showed that 52 percent of respondents view Wasserman Schultz favorably and 35 percent unfavorably while 13 percent have no opinion of her or never heard of her. For Canova, his favorable-unfavorable split is 32-8 percent.

But the poll shows Canova's biggest weakness: 60 percent of voters have no opinion/never heard of him. Despite his national media exposure due to Bernie Sanders endorsing him and his prolific fundraising, he is a first-time candidate who isn't well known in the district. Wasserman Schultz has been an elected official for more than two decades -- first in the state Legislature and elected to Congress in 2004.

The summary of the poll provided by Canova's campaign also shows that voters disagree with her stances on Big Sugar and payday lending.

The poll of 400 voters was done July 27-28, a few days after Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as Democratic National Committee chair. Her decision came after WikiLeaks published thousands of DNC emails which showed the party favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders, a charge Wasserman Schultz had previously denied for months. It also showed that party staff were tracking Canova's campaign events and media coverage.

This was the first poll released in the race so far. There have been no public polls and Wasserman Schultz's campaign hasn't commented about polling.

The poll for Canova was done by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

July 29, 2016

In battle against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tim Canova hires Bernie Sanders' consultants

Tim Canova's campaign has hired three of Bernie Sanders' media consultants.

The new hires are Tad DevineMark Longabaugh, and Julian Mulvey. All three have started, said Canova's campaign manager Richard Bell. The hires were first reported by Politico. The consultants run a Washington D.C. based Democratic media consulting firm together and have represented a long list of Democratic candidates and liberal causes. Their firm was the one behind Sanders' "America" ad which the main audio features Simon and Garfunkel's America song.

Canova is battling U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Broward/Miami-Dade Congressional District 23. 

Canova's first-time race drew more attention in the past week since Wasserman Schultz stepped down as Democratic National Committee chair following the leak of more than 19,000 party emails. Those emails showed that the DNC was favoring Hillary Clinton over Sanders -- a charge that Wasserman Schultz had repeatedly denied for months. The emails also showed that DNC staffers who are not on Wasserman Schultz's campaign were tracking Canova's media coverage and appearances.

The primary in the left leaning district is Aug. 30 but voters are already starting to cast ballots by mail. So far, about 28,000 Broward Democrats in the district have requested mail in ballots. A slice of the district is also in northern Miami Dade.

July 26, 2016

History for Wasserman Schultz: A single chair lost re-election after ending party tenure -- in 1866


The folks at Smart Politics dug into how many outgoing Democratic Party chairs won and lost their re-election races the year they left their party posts -- important historical context for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston.

If she loses to primary opponent Tim Canova  on Aug. 30, the analysis found, Wasserman Schultz will become only the second party chair to do so. The first time it happened? 1866.

If she wins re-election, she will join two other party chairs who did so the same year their party tenure came to an end: Democratic Rep. Cordell Hull of Tennessee in 1924, and Republican Rep. Joseph Martin of Massachusetts in 1942.

More here.

Wasserman Schultz's replacement cheered at Democratic convention


PHILADELPHIA -- No boos here: Incoming Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile got a warm welcome Tuesday at her party's convention -- so warm that she danced a little jig as she walked off stage.

Brazile will replace U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, who was forced to resign right before the start of the convention over a leaked-email scandal.

"We will have a party that you can be proud of," Brazile pledged delegates. She was still listed as a party vice-chairwoman.

Wasserman Schultz has been spotted at the Wells Fargo Center, though she's made no public appearance. She's said to have a private suite in the arena.

When Brazile finished, applause rang from all corners of the room, including from the Florida delegation. A jovial Brazile shimmied her way backstage.

Trump thinks Michelle Obama's speech was 'pretty good'

CBS4's Jim DeFede interviewed Donald Trump today in advance of his Wednesday speech at Trump National Doral golf resort.

The full interview will air at 11 p.m. Here is a snippet that posted so far: 

DeFede: Give me your impressions of the democratic convention so far and whole Debbie Wasserman Schultz scandal?

Trump: I think she was disastrous.  It turned out she was a disaster. I've been saying that for a long time. Not a good person and got caught and said a lot of bad things and it was very sad. And I think as far as the convention it's not played out yet. We are going to have to see what happens with Bernie Sanders. I think Bernie got very tired. He wants to go home. He wants to go to sleep. He wants to go to bed. He wants to get out. So it looks like he got tired and probably the people will sort of go home. I think we are going to get a lot of the Sanders people because of my views on trade because we are being so ripped off on trade and jobs. I think we are going to do very well with the Bernie Sanders people.

DeFede: Michelle Obama went after you on the first night without ever invoking your name. What did you think about a First Lady making a political speech like that?

Trump: I'm not that surprised. Look she did her thing and I thought it was fine. I thought her speech was ok. I thought it was pretty good. I really didn't pay much attention to it.

Here is some background about what Trump has said about trade from PolitiFact.


July 25, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz now faces battle for her South Florida seat

After quitting her national Democratic Party leadership role amid furor over thousands of leaked emails, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz now faces the political battle of her lifetime back home in South Florida.

Wasserman Schultz resigned as Democratic National Committee chairwoman Sunday, strengthening the hand of her primary opponent, Tim Canova — who saw a huge fundraising boost and national media attention following her decision.

While the Weston congresswoman spent Monday morning getting heckled by protesters in Philadelphia at her first public appearance since her resignation, Canova was in the district giving interviews to local TV stations, Univision and The Daily Beast — and meeting with constituents.

“I have not left the district in eight months,” Canova told the Miami Herald on Sunday. “That’s not going to change between now and Aug. 30. I don’t think there’s going to be a great need for me to go up to Philly and chase the spotlight. We’re making friends on the ground every day.”

Read more here from Amy Sherman and Patricia Mazzei.

South Florida Democrats hold thank you event for Wasserman Schultz in Philadelphia

More than 400 people attended a “thank you” event for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at Del Frisco's steakhouse in Philadelphia Mondayafternoon. The event had been planned two weeks ago by South Florida Democratic donors.

Wasserman Schultz made no mention of the WikiLeaks emails and instead gave a few minutes of upbeat comments.

“She came in to a round of applause and everyone chanting ‘Debbie, Debbie,’” said Alex Heckler, a Democratic donor and lawyer from Miami Beach one of the co-hosts. “She went from hug to hug to hug.”

She thanked her husband, children and friends and said she was proud of her work for the party and as a member of Congress. She didn’t mention her primary opponent Tim Canova by name, although she reminded the crowd that she faces reelection on Aug. 30.

“She said she looks forward getting reelected and helping Hillary Clinton,” said Mike Moskowitz, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer and co-host.

Developer Stephen Bittel hosted the event, and Mitchell Berger, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, was also a co-host.

The event was a contrast from the Florida delegation breakfast where she was heckled.