Everyone’s favorite Democrat National Committee Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, got some alarming news to start off the week.
As you may have heard, Little Debbie’s facing her first primary challenge since being elected in 2004 — yep, 12 years ago. And, judging from first quarter fundraising numbers released this morning, her opponent is shaping up to be well-funded in his challenge against her — in part, thanks to President Obama.
Via The Hill:
The Florida professor challenging Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her congressional seat posted a strong first fundraising quarter, raising $550,000.
Tim Canova’s haul came from 15,295 donations averaging less than $20, according to figures released Monday morning by the campaign.
“Our campaign has been met with incredible enthusiasm,” Canova said in a statement released by his campaign. “There is an intense desire in South Florida, as there is around the country, to end politics as usual and elect a representative who will put the people first, not big Wall Street banks and giant companies.”
The first quarter haul shows that Wasserman Schultz will likely be facing a well-funded opponent in her first primary challenge since her election in 2004. She ended 2015 with just $468,000 in her campaign account and has not yet reported her first-quarter totals, but is expected to flex her fundraising muscle during the run-up to the primary.
President Obama took the rare step last week of endorsing Wasserman Schultz ahead of that primary election, a notable decision by the president to wade into party politics.
But numbers released by Canova’s campaign implicitly suggested that move may have helped his fundraising — almost $100,000 of his donations came in the last four days of the quarter, after Obama’s endorsement.
So, Obama’s endorsement may have actually HURT Little Debbie and helped her opponent. How about that?
As we’ve reported previously, Wasserman Schultz has been under particular fire in recent months, as her support of Democrat presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has appeared to influence her decisions about how the party’s primary is being run. Some have suggested Little Debbie has been attempting to engineer the party processes, such as number and timing of debates as well as access to data, to favor her girl Hillary.
Canova has endorsed Sanders and is trying to run with a similar populist streak as the Vermont senator. And Canova also has the backing of the National Nurses United super-PAC, the group that has already spent more than $1 million to help Sanders.
The district is leans strongly blue, so the primary will likely be the only competitive obstacle for Wasserman Schultz to keep her seat.
Like Sanders is doing with Clinton, Canova is painting Wasserman Schultz as beholden to Wall Street and special interests. As Newsweek reports:
On his website, he accuses Wasserman Schultz of “taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks.” According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Florida congresswoman has raised more than $300,000 from commercial banks since 2006, including $15,000 from Goldman Sachs, or about 2 percent of her total funds raised.
Newsweek also notes, however, that filings with the Federal Election Commission showed Little Debbie outpacing her challenger by a fair amount. But, as the race for president is reminding us — on both sides of the aisle — turns out money isn’t enough to slam dunk the election in this year of anti-establishment sentiment.
Looks like Little Debbie’s gonna be scrambling this year on multiple fronts.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]