‘I’m focused on doing my job’: DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz answers #DumpDebbie effort (VIDEO)
“I’m focused on doing my job,” Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) said, according to Bloomberg on Wednesday. “We are 60 days from the Democratic National Convention, and we are singularly focused on putting on the best political convention America has ever seen, that will launch our eventual nominee to the White House.”
The Hill originally reported that some Senate Democrats want her to step down over worries that she is too divisive a figure to unify the party, which is stuck in a drawn out primary battle between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) defended the DNC chairwoman.
“Chairwoman Wassserman Schultz has the respect of her colleagues for her efforts and her leadership to unify the party and to win the election in November,” she told reporters, according to Associated Press.
Pelosi said she was unaware of reports that some Democrats felt retaining Wasserman Schultz as party chair was making it difficult for the party to coalesce.
“I’m not going to get involved in conversations about personality,” Pelosi said.
Wasserman Schultz has a tense relationship with Sanders and his supporters, who argue she has shown bias in favor of front-runner Clinton by scheduling debates on weekend nights, having many closed primaries not open to independent voters as well as keeping the superdelegate system that had helped Clinton pad her lead.
Party acrimony was heightened by Sanders’ endorsement of Tim Canova, who is trying to oust Wasserman Schultz from her seat in an August Democratic primary. Sanders also previously made an announcement on CNN that if he was elected president, he would not reappoint her to lead the party.
Sanders’ endorsement on Sunday increased contributions to Canova by $300,000 nearly overnight. Speaking with RT, Canova said that because they are raising a lot of money, they are also now spending a lot of money.
“We are raising it the way Bernie Sanders has been raising money. I am not taking any money from any corporation, any corporate PACs. We got over 56,000 individual contributions with an average size of about $18 or so, and we raised over $1 million in barely four months,” said Canova.
The Florida primary is scheduled for August 30, and it is anticipated it will be a tough fight. Mitch Ceasar, a former Florida party chairman told RT that Wasserman Schultz has not faced a challenge in a very long time, that is not since she first ran for the state legislature.
“She’s faced Republicans, but they have been safe districts. But this is a primary challenge in a Democratic area in south Florida. I think he [Canova] has proven to have a very unique fundraising network which provides him the fuel to have fire, but Debbie is tough and smart and this is a hell of a battle,” said Ceaser.
Ceaser said Canova is likely to raise $3 million by the time of the primary and Wasserman Schultz about $4 or $5 million. He said it is needed in South Florida as TV is expensive, and Miami is the most expensive media market in the state. Additionally, he doesn’t think Wasserman Schultz will get an endorsement from Clinton.
“I would be very surprised if Secretary Clinton got involved in this race as… Debbie’s tough,” said Ceaser. “I think they will slug it out. I don’t think Bernie’s going to get further involved, although I have read that Bernie is doing a similar type activity in several other congressional races across the country.”
Criticism has been mounting that there can not be a successful convention unless Wasserman Schultz steps down, but Ceaser thinks that is unlikely to happen.
“I would be shocked if she stepped down. That’s actually the call of …President Obama. She’s there because he asked her to [be there]. We are approaching a convention. It would be a first time event for a chair to step down so deep into the political season.”