Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D., Fla.) primary opponent on Monday lambasted her "divisive role" as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee during this election season, implying that she is rigging both the presidential election and state races while pushing for big corporate interests.
Tim Canova, a lawyer, professor, and onetime adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), is running to unseat Schultz in South Florida’s 23rd congressional district and blasted her tenure as DNC chair on MSNBC.
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After Canova called Schultz a career politician who is not a real progressive and has yet to face a tough primary challenge while in Congress, host Kate Snow read a statement from the DNC chair saying that she will remain neutral in the Democratic presidential primary despite Sanders’ endorsement of Canova’s candidacy.
"Do you think she has been neutral in this [presidential] race?" Snow asked.
"We all watch the news, and we see how divided the party has become," Canova said in response. "And we can all make our own determinations as to whether she’s been playing a unifying role or a divisive role. And certainly a large part of the country, and of the folks here in South Florida, think that she’s been playing a divisive role."
Canova then implied that Schultz has been trying to rig both state-level races in Florida and the presidential election in favor of candidates who she supports.
"The charge has been that she rigs the markets; she rigs the political outcomes," Canova said. "I can tell you, what I’m fighting here in South Florida, some of her allies have been trying to rig union endorsements in her favor. So if that’s any indication of the kind of politics that she plays, I’ll tell you, I can understand why a lot of folks are contributing to my campaign.
"And it’s not just around the country. It’s also here in Florida, where in the first quarter we received more individual donations than Debbie Wasserman Schultz did. She’s been a member of Congress for 12 years; I’ve been a candidate for less than 90 days, and we got more contributions in Florida than she did. So her popularity is a bit of a myth."
Canova has raised over $1 million since announcing his candidacy in January, a staggering amount for a little-known challenger trying to unseat a powerful member of the Democratic Party leadership.
The college professor-turned-politician added that Schultz has been "pushing for big corporate interests for awhile," and voters are looking for different kinds of candidates because of a strong anti-incumbent mood.
Canova’s comments echo Bernie Sanders’ recent accusations, and those of his campaign, that the DNC chair has been working against his candidacy to make sure Hillary Clinton gets the party nomination.
Sanders supporters have thrown the Democratic Party into turmoil in recent weeks, accusing Schultz and the DNC of ignoring their concerns and not pushing for more progressive policies that Sanders has proposed on the campaign trail.