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PAC pours in big bucks to help Debbie Wasserman Schultz

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@amysherman1

A Democratic Super PAC has spent big bucks in an effort to re-elect U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The Patriot Majority PAC has spent about $600,000 on mailers, radio and digital ads in addition to money on polling in the Broward/Miami-Dade district for the Aug. 30th primary.

The mailers we have seen make no mention of her primary rival Tim Canova and focus on her record fighting for gun safety reform, equal pay for women and support for abortion rights and align her with President Barack Obama.

Wasserman Schultz had raised about $3.1 million through Aug. 10th while Canova raised $3.3 million so combined with the PAC her side is ahead in the race for dollars.

Patriot Majority PAC’s campaign finance report through Aug. 10 shows the following large donors:

Donald Sussman of Maine and Fort Lauderdale: $250,000. He is the CEO of Paloma Partners hedge fund which is a major contributor to Democratic and liberal groups including those working on behalf of Hillary Clinton. (Sussman bought a home for $27.5 million in Fort Lauderdale in January plus an $8.2 million property next door a few months after he announced he was getting divorced from U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.)

Joseph Blount: $133,000. The businessman and frequent Democratic donor lives in Miami Beach.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC: $125,000

Florida Crystals Corp: $25,000.

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen: $20,000

Canova attacked Wasserman Schultz for being supported by a PAC that takes money from Big Sugar. He wrote in a press release that Sussman’s hedge fund has “over $100 million dollars in energy and fossil fuel investments.”

Factcheck.org wrote in April that less than 4 percent of the hedge fund’s portfolio is invested in energy companies.

“Donald Sussman is one of the most progressive individuals in America and has a long history of supporting progressive candidates and progressive causes, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other candidates supported by Emily’s List,” said Craig Varoga, treasurer of Patriot Majority PAC.

It’s unclear if the PAC still plans to advertise on TV. The PAC had reserved at least $393,000 in TV ad time by early August, reported MapLight, a nonpartisan organization that researches data on campaign fundraising. But Varoga did not respond to questions from the Miami Herald about current advertising plans.

This is the first time Wasserman Schultz of Weston has faced a primary challenger since 1992 when she first ran for the state Legislature. Canova, who lives in Hollywood, is a first-time candidate and Nova Southeastern University law professor. He got a boost in fundraising due to the endorsement by Bernie Sanders and publicity about Wasserman Schultz stepping down as Democratic National Committee party chair.

This post was updated after the PAC filed an amendment to its FEC report to change Sussman's address from Maine to Fort Lauderdale.

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