Presidential races

Sanders fundraising for opponent of Dem chairwoman

Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday began fundraising for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-Fla.) primary opponent, just a day after saying he would oust her as Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman if elected president.

{mosads}In an email, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver asked supporters to split a donation between his presidential campaign and the effort to elect Tim Canova, Wasserman Schultz’s challenger in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

“We’re doing this because it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics,” Weaver wrote. “We need real change. We need U.S. Senators, members of Congress and state legislators who have the guts to take on the big money interests whose greed is destroying the American middle class.

“Tim Canova is one of those candidates, and I hope you’ll join Bernie in support of his campaign,” Weaver added.

Canova has mostly benefited from small contributions, raising more than $1 million since becoming a candidate in January, according to Federal Election Commission filings.  

Wasserman Schultz, meanwhile, has the backing of President Obama and Vice President Biden, the latter of whom will head a fundraiser for her next month. 

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that aired Sunday, Sanders announced he would back Canova.

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

Sanders’s comments come amid escalating tensions with party leaders. Last weekend, Sanders supporters angrily opposed rules they thought unfairly benefited Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton at a chaotic Nevada state convention.

Sanders and Wasserman Schultz also seemed to spar over committee seats at the convention, with Sanders demanding more representation.

He has also criticized other aspects of the Democrats’ nominating process, from closed primaries to the use of superdelegates, the vast majority of whom are backing Clinton and have given her a substantial lead in the race.

Weaver further distanced the campaign from the DNC chairwoman last Wednesday, saying she has been “throwing shade” at Sanders “since the very beginning.”

In a statement Saturday, Wasserman Schultz said she will remain neutral in the presidential election and looks forward “to working together with [Sanders] for Democratic victories in the fall.”

–This report was updated at 1:47 p.m.

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