Bernie bites back: Sanders endorses DNC chair's progressive opponent

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee © Javier Galeano
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is pushing back against Democratic Party chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS), the Clinton insider blamed for “sabotaging” his campaign, by endorsing her primary opponent Tim Canova.

The Vermont senator told CNN that if he is elected president, he would support the removal of DWS as head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

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“Clearly I favor her opponent, his views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz’s,” he said about Canova.

This is the first time DWS has had a primary challenger since she won her congressional seat in 2004.

"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," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

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Despite her claims of neutrality, the months-long feud with the Sanders campaign and the national co-chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run has prompted accusations of bias and “sabotage” in what's been called a “rigged” system.

The small number of debates, routinely held on weekends when TV audience ratings tend to be low, as well as access to Democratic voter data and "serious apparent violations" of campaign-finance laws are the main complaints from Sanders’ team.

Wasserman Schultz decided not to reprimand the party’s finance chair Henry Munoz, even though he was caught violating rules by helping to organize a Clinton fundraiser, and the Hillary Victory Fund set up jointly with the DNC to help benefit state parties has largely been used for her presidential campaign.

READ MORE: Clinton shutting out state Democrats from joint fundraising benefits – report 

Tensions boiled over during the Nevada Democratic Convention earlier this , when Sanders supporters protested what they perceived as unfair treatment against their candidate, which he said had used its power “to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”

READ MORE: ‘This is nonsense’ - Sanders dismisses Democratic criticism of protests at Nevada convention 

Canova, a Sanders adviser for the past five years who has been frequently cited by public intellectual Noam Chomsky dating back to the 2000 election, has been openly critical of Wasserman Schultz, saying she is too involved with corporate interests.

The law professor told RT’s Ed Schultz that her decision to support the fast-tracking of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) pushed him to enter the contest.

Like Sanders, Canova has rejected corporate donations. He has raised $1 million for his campaign in four months.

By contrast, Wasserman Schultz has received contributions from Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Google, and Lockheed Martin this year.

Even though Wasserman Schultz worked for President Barack Obama’s primary opponent Hillary Clinton in 2008, he selected her to head the DNC in 2011 and endorsed her against Canova.