Will DNC scandal cost Wasserman Schultz her seat? (+video)
Challenger Tim Canova, a Bernie Sanders-backed law professor, has raised an almost unheard of amount for a first-time candidate and primary challenger. That could be trouble for the former Democratic National Committee chair.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will soon learn whether the controversy surrounding her resignation as the Democratic National Committee chairwoman will cost her a seventh term in Congress.
Wasserman Schultz is facing a strong primary challenge Tuesday from Tim Canova, a Bernie Sanders-backed law professor who is making his first run for office.
Canova, 56, has raised $3.3 million, according to his filings with the Federal Elections Commission, an almost unheard of amount for a first-time candidate and primary challenger. That has allowed him to operate four field offices and run TV ads. Wasserman Schultz, 49, has raised $3 million but has been assisted by spending from political action committees. She has also gotten backing from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
In Wasserman Schultz's previous elections, she never drew a primary opponent in her suburban Fort Lauderdale district or a serious Republican challenge. In general elections, she received at least 60 percent of the vote in a 2-to-1 Democratic district that stretches from the ocean to the Everglades.
The email leaks that cost Wasserman Schultz her DNC post last month have motivated Canova's backers, who say the emails show that she and DNC staff members were unfair to Sanders during the Democratic presidential primaries.
The progressive contingent of the Democratic party had been critical of Wasserman Schultz throughout the presidential primary, as Aidan Quigley reported for The Christian Science Monitor earlier this month:
The Sanders campaign had accused her of not being impartial, especially for her role in debate scheduling.
'She's earned great disrepute among Bernie delegates due to her behavior throughout the campaign,' progressive activist Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate who is organizing an independent Bernie Delegates Network, tells the Monitor. 'She claimed mendaciously that she was neutral throughout this campaign. We knew that she wasn't neutral, and these emails prove it.'
Some progressive democrats say she is part of a Wall Street takeover of the party.
Canova, who teaches at Nova Southeastern University, has accused Wasserman Schultz of taking large donations from the sugar industry to ignore Everglades pollution.
Wasserman Schultz has accused Canova of not being a strong supporter of Israel, a key issue in a district with a large Jewish population.
The winner of the Wasserman Schultz-Canova race will likely face Republican Joe Kaufman in November. He lost to Wasserman Schultz by a 63 to 37 percent margin in 2014.