Sanders on Wasserman Schultz challenger: 'I have no idea about Tim Canova'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (I-Vt.) is declining to back Tim Canova in his second bid to oust Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz from her South Florida House seat.

“I have no idea about Tim Canova, I honestly don’t,” Sanders told the Miami Herald when asked if he plans to support Canova’s second Democratic primary bid. “I know nothing about Tim Canova.”

Sanders previously endorsed the Nova Southeastern University law professor's first campaign against Wasserman Schultz, then the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, in May 2016.

“Clearly I favor her opponent, his views are much closer to mine than to Wasserman Schultz’s,” Sanders said at the time.

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Canova campaigned to unseat Wasserman Schultz amid allegations that the DNC under her watch favored Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 The Hill's Campaign Report: High stakes at last Democratic debate before Super Tuesday MORE over Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

Thousands of leaked emails from the DNC surfaced on the eve of the party's convention last summer, including embarrassing exchanges about Sanders, eventually forcing Wasserman Schultz to step down as party head. 

Canova announced last week that he would mount another challenge to Wasserman Schultz in 2018. He raised large amounts of money for his first bid last year, but eventually lost by 14 points.

In an email to the Herald, Canova acknowledged the importance of Sanders's previous endorsement, even though he had voiced disappointment last year about Sanders not campaigning with him in the state.

“I was thrilled when he endorsed me last year,” Canova said. “His endorsement gave us an important lift and I’m forever grateful for his support at such a critical time.”

When asked about the lack of endorsement in an email, Canova campaign spokesperson Deborah Dion said that “Tim announced his candidacy for 2018 only last week and again he has not sought any endorsements from any politicians at any level, Senator Sanders’ remarks do not change anything in our campaign or messaging.”

On his campaign website, Canova argues that Wasserman Schultz “failed to satisfactorily account for the DNC staff’s behavior under her leadership, which including attempting to tip the scales in favor of one presidential candidate versus the other."

A spokesperson for Sanders did not immediately return a request for comment.