Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday announced his support for Tim Canova, the former Capitol Hill staffer challenging Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, in the primary for her House seat.
"Clearly, I favor her opponent," Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview scheduled to run on Sunday's "State of the Union" broadcast. "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz's. Let me also say this, in all due respect to the current chairperson: If [I am] elected president, she would not be re-appointed chairwoman of the DNC."
Canova, a onetime adviser to Sanders who now teaches law and finance at a southeast Florida college, has endorsed the senator's presidential bid and used it as a model for his own run. Like Sanders, he's asked that no super PAC be formed to help him; like Sanders, he's been endorsed by National Nurses United, the politically active union that can throw ads and get-out-the-vote muscle behind campaigns. And like Sanders, he has elevated his own campaign by stacking small dollar donations, more than $1 million of them since his race began.
"Please spread the word that the political revolution that Bernie Sanders has called for is spreading everywhere, including in Debbie Wasserman Schultz's backyard here in Florida's 23rd Congressional District," Canova said in January on the SandersForPresident Reddit forum.
Wasserman Schultz has defended her position with her usual brisk fundraising, and with support from Democratic allies. (Vice President Biden is fundraising for her in early June.) She's also embraced the incumbent's usual strategy for handling a challenger — avoiding any engagement with him whatsoever. At the last Sanders-Clinton debate in Brooklyn, Blake Zeff of Cafe asked Wasserman Schultz if she'd debate Canova. "I'm here to talk about the presidential election," she said, turning away.
Canova celebrated the endorsement news, which made him just the fourth House candidate to be officially supported by Sanders, with a tweet.