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Tim Canova goes after Debbie Wasserman Schultz on relationship with Big Sugar in new ad

Tim Canova is going after Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her ties to sugar interests in a new ad airing on cable and broadcast channels in the Miami-Dade market this week.

“Water is our precious resource, and the future of Florida depends on it,” Canova narrates to a picture of a baby swimming in clear blue water — which then turns an ugly hue of green. It’s an obvious allusion to one of the biggest environmental stories of the year in Florida — the toxic-algae bloom that moved over beaches on the state’s Treasure Coast last month, which some have attributed to phosphorus-laden discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee.

“But polluters like Big Sugar are poisoning our waterways, killing our fish, our manatees, and the tourism that drives our economy,” Canova says in the ad. “Politicians like Debbie Wasserman Schultz take millions of dollars from Big Sugar to look the other way. It’s the kind of thing that’s choking the life out of our democracy.”

Canova is a law professor from Nova Southeastern University who is challenging Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District in next week’s primary election.

In a followup statement released Monday afternoon, Canova pushed the Big Sugar angle further by referring to “Patriot Majority PAC,” a Washington-based super PAC scheduled to spend more than $500,000 in broadcast and direct mail for Wasserman Schultz.

Canova said that Majority PAC has received $250,000 in funding from Donald Sussman, founder and chief investment officer of Paloma Partners, a hedge fund with over $100 million in energy and fossil fuel investments. And he said that Patriot Majority PAC also received $25,000 in funding from Florida Crystals, a privately held company that is part of FLO-SUN, the sugar conglomerate owned by the Fanjul brothers and one of the main sugar producers in Florida. And he says that Wasserman Schultz “has voted time and again for hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies for these sugar companies.”

“This Super PAC’s activities on behalf of my opponent are a prime example of what is wrong with our campaign financing system,” said Canova. “Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been able to call upon her allies in Big Sugar and the fossil fuels industry to come to her aid in this race, but we know we are primed for victory because we are supported and funded by everyday Americans, not corporate interests.  Wasserman Schultz can say she’s against Citizen’s United and that she’s an environmental champion. But it’s just another example of her saying one thing and doing another.”  

FloridaPolitics has reached out to the Wasserman Schultz campaign for comment.

There’s just a little over a week to go in the election. a South Florida Sun-Sentinel poll released on Sunday shows Wasserman Schultz leading Canova, 50 percent to 40 percent.

Here’s the ad:




Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at

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