Senator Bernie Sanders told CNN on Saturday that he supports Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s opponent in the June 30th Democratic primary, and that if he is elected president, he would ensure that her leadership of the DNC was ended.
The Sanders campaign’s feud with the chairwoman of the DNC has grown increasingly bitter over the last few months. He told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he supports Wasserman-Schultz’s primary opponent Tim Canova for Florida’s 23rd congressional district. Not surprisingly, Canova is a Sanders supporter.
When asked about the race, Sanders told “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper:
‘Well, clearly, I favor [Wasserman-Schultz’s] opponent. His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman-Schultz.”
Sanders continued on to say that if he is elected president, he would not reappoint Wasserman-Schultz to head the DNC. Wasserman-Schultz, however, has decided to take the diplomatic route and declared that she would not choose sides.
‘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.’
The Sanders campaign has never been a big fan of Wasserman-Schultz and has been harshly critical of tactics that have allegedly helped Sanders’ opponent Hillary Clinton. Such tactics include debates being held on Saturday night, closed primaries in major states such as New York, and the superdelegate system which has overwhelmingly favored Clinton from the beginning of the primary process.
Canova, on the other hand, goes way back with Sanders. A law professor at Fort Lauderdale’s Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College, Canova was asked by Sanders in 2011 to serve on his advisory board for Wall Street reform. Upon hearing that his campaign was being backed by Sanders, Canova had this to say:
‘I’m so proud to know that Bernie Sanders favors our campaign for progress for all. Like Sen. 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 supports greater regulation of Wall Street, and also opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He recently had harsh words for Wasserman-Schultz, telling Broward-Palm Beach’s New Times paper that “time and time again, [she] has voted to protect the pools of dark money in politics.”
Sanders’ efforts behind Canova may not have the effect that both parties have wished for, though. Recent polls show that Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers in the Canova/Wasserman-Schultz congressional district beat Sanders by 38 percentage points, 30.1% to 68%.
After Wasserman-Schultz criticized Sanders for not doing enough to condemn his supporters’ behavior at the Democratic party’s Nevada convention last week, Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver criticized her actions during the election thus far.
‘We can have a long conversation about Debbie Wasserman Schultz just about how she’s been throwing shade on the Sanders campaign from the very beginning. It’s not the DNC. By and large, people in the DNC have been good to us. Debbie Wasserman Schultz really is the exception.’
For her part, Wasserman-Schultz has vehemently denied allegations that the contest is rigged.
‘We’ve had the same rules in place that elected Barack Obama. These rules were adopted for state parties all across the country in 2014.’