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Sanders would back DNC chair's foe in congressional race

By
Allen Cone
Debbie Wasserman Schultz leads the Democratic National Committee and is U.S. Representative from Florida. Bernie Sanders and his staffers have been criticical of her performance as party chair. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI
Debbie Wasserman Schultz leads the Democratic National Committee and is U.S. Representative from Florida. Bernie Sanders and his staffers have been criticical of her performance as party chair. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said he supports the Democratic National Committee' chair's opponent in the Aug. 30 congressional primary in South Florida.

Sanders said in an interview Sunday on CNN's State of the Union that he favors Tim Canova in Florida's 23rd congressional district over Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

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Schultz serves in the U.S. House of Representatives and is the Democratic Party chair.

"Well, clearly, I favor her opponent," Sanders told Jake Tapper. "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz's."

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The Nova Southeastern University law professor is supporting Sanders, who sent out a fundraising email on his behalf.

Sanders said if he is elected president, he would terminate her chairmanship of the DNC. President Barack Obama appointed her to the post in 2011.

Sanders' campaign has criticized Wasserman Shultz's performance as leader of the DNC, claiming the party has favored Hillary Clinton.

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Canova accused Wasserman Schultz of ignoring her home district's economic issues.

"In her own votes in the House of Representatives, I think she's making the problems worse," Canova told CNN's Fredricka Whitfield.

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In a response to Sanders, Wasserman Schultz said she remain neutral in the Democratic presidential race.

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"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," Wasserman Schultz said. "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."

She easily won her first congressional race in 2004, facing only a Republican opponent. She has been reelected five times. She faced no Democratic opposition in 2014 and received 63 percent of the vote in the general election.

In Wasserman Schultz's district, Sanders received 30 percent of the vote compared with 68 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Canova has raised more than $1 million since becoming a candidate in January, a significant milestone in his campaign to unseat Wasserman Schultz.

Wasserman Schultz hasn't announced fundraising totals since she and Canova filed finance reports with the Federal Election Commission last month.

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