Debbie Wasserman Schultz handily defeats Tim Canova in CD 23

DWS wins CD 26

In one of the most closely watched congressional primaries in the nation, Debbie Wasserman Schultz defeated her Democratic challenger, law professor Tim Canova, 57 percent to 43 percent, to win another two-year term representing Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

Wasserman Schultz has held her suburban Fort Lauderdale-based seat since 2004 and had never been challenged in a primary election until Canova’s emergence this year.

“The result was so incredibly gratifying,” Wasserman Schultz said. “It really fills my heart to know the people I have represented said with this margin and this vote that ‘We know her and we have been able to count on her for all these years and we want her to keep fighting for us.’ They aren’t going to let millions of dollars from people outside the state decide who is going to represent our community in Washington.”

Tapping into the same anti-establishment fervor that catapulted Bernie Sanders to national prominence, Canova was able to raise an astonishing $2.8 million in his effort, receiving 200,000 individual contributions, what his campaign called a record amount in a congressional campaign.

A good deal of that support came from outside the district, from Democrats angered at Wasserman Schultz for what was perceived to be her bias in favor of Hillary Clinton during the presidential primary campaign, specifically in the DNC’s scheduling of the debates.

The low point for Wasserman Schultz during the campaign came last month when she resigned as the head of the Democratic National Committee the day before the Democratic convention, after leaked emails showed DNC staffers disparaging the Sanders campaign. The next morning, she was unceremoniously booed off the stage at the Florida delegation breakfast and had laid low the rest of the week in Philadelphia.

But while her reputation might have been wounded nationally, the sentiments inside CD 23 were quite different. And national Democratic leaders such as Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and John Lewis all traveled to Miami to campaign for her — while Sanders opted not to do the same for Canova.

“There’s no one tougher than Debbie Wasserman Schultz. No matter what is thrown her way, Debbie gets back up and keeps fighting,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant. “She’s been a lifelong champion of our party’s progressive values and I congratulate her on tonight’s victory. Florida Democrats are proud to stand with Debbie and we look forward to her continued work on behalf of the people of Florida’s 23rd Congressional district.”

Canova had produced one internal poll that showed him down by eight points. A South Florida Sun-Sentinel poll had her up by 10 points, 50 percent to 40 percent, while a poll produced by a super PAC working for Wasserman Schultz had her up by more than 30 percentage points.

“Losing sucks. But we came a long way in a short period of time,” tweeted Mike Nellis, Canova’s digital fundraising manager.

Wasserman Schultz will face Republican Joe Kaufman in November. He lost to Wasserman Schultz by a 63 to 37 percent margin in 2014 in the 2-to-1 Democratic district.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.

Mitch Perry

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 [email protected].


  • Dominic

    August 30, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    You reporting she won early with only 7% counting the showing you have prior knowledge of her winning ( or rigging) this election so I hope you’re included in the Rico lawsuit if not I will let my lawyer know you need to be added.

  • lisa

    August 30, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    i call bullshit!

  • Brian W Hitchcock

    August 30, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    “…for what was perceived to be her bias” has now known been proved to be bias. So even speaking of the past, it would be more accurately to state that as “angry at Wasserman Schultz for her bias”

  • Cydney

    August 30, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    “Perceived bias”?!!! It was blatant bias. She is liar, a manipulator, deceitful, and colluded with the media. So how can that be perceived?!

  • Sherri McNamara

    August 31, 2016 at 12:42 am


  • Ken LaKind

    August 31, 2016 at 1:01 am

    What is the matter with Florida DEMS. She is so wrong for the democratic party and for FL.

  • Angela

    August 31, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Nothing will be FAIR in this election. The People will not be heard!

  • Donna

    August 31, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Just another example of why Floridians should not be allowed to vote.

  • David Lane

    August 31, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    It was a primary! is she unopposed in november?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704