Despite losing his first bid for Congress to Debbie Wasserman Schultz by 14 percentage points last August, Democrat Tim Canova is considering taking another shot at the former DNC chair in 2018.
“I’m seriously considering it. An awful lot of folks are putting that bug in my ear and urging me to do so,” Canova told this reporter on WMNF radio’s MidPoint program on Thursday afternoon.
Canova says a lot has happened since his first ever bid for elected office ended on August 30, when his effort to defeat Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, fell short.
The biggest change, of course, since Canova’s loss was Donald Trump’s stunning election victory on November 8, a defeat that the ever-combative Nova Southeastern University law professor doesn’t give his former opponent a pass on.
“Just the weekend before the election she was on HBO’s Vice News doing an interview in which she played the victim,” he recounts.
“She complained about how Bernie Sanders supporters had demonized her for her role at the DNC. Even if there was validity to that argument, and I don’t think there is – I think she earned all the criticism that she got – but even if there was validity to it, why would somebody in her position, go on the air, three days before the presidential election, to alienate Bernie Sanders supporters who Hillary Clinton needs to get elected?”
“It showed the typical arrogance and overconfidence and really stupidity to be doing something like that,” he said, adding, “So yes, I am thinking of running against her again.”
Wasserman Schultz did not return our request for comment.
Just weeks after he lost to Wasserman Schultz, Canova announced the creation of a political and community action group last month called “Progress For All,” that he said would “will harness the power of our movement.”
In October, Canova announced the group would be working on a series of five different referendums to attempt to get on the November 2018 ballot, some of which other activists in the state have been working for years on.
Canova has been meeting with some of the organizations that have been working on some of those initial five proposals, such as those working on making Florida an open primary state and on getting ex-felons automatic restoration of their voting rights.
“We’re trying to create those coalitions that can work together on that,” he says.
And he’s looking forward to getting to know more about the candidates running for both the Florida Democratic Party chairman position and the Democratic National Committee. In both cases, though, Canova says that the Democratic Party makes it difficult to feel part of the process.
“I feel some frustration we’re talking at the state level, the local level and the national level, these choices are made in what seems like a dark room,” he says. “We don’t know enough about the candidates. They’re not in public forums in which we can hear their views, their experiences and their vision, and I think that’s very unfortunate. It was what we were up against in my primary.”
Canova’s choice for DNC chair is someone who isn’t running (at least yet).
That’s Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham law school professor who lost a bid for Congress last month in New York.
While many Democrats remain in depression more than a month after Trump’s victory, Canova sounds more enthusiastic about making change within the Democratic party.
This is not the time for Democrats or anyone to be putting up the white flag.
“This country is in a dangerous spot right now,” Canova says. “We had two of most unpopular candidates in history. The Democrats complain about the FBI, James Comey, and the Russians and on and on.
“They really need to look in the mirror and say: what is it about our process and the candidates that we offered up that was not compelling to the American people. I think Democrats have unfortunately missed the boat on where the country is at.”