Tim Canova, a 57-year-old law professor, ran for Congress in Florida’s 23rd district last year, taking on former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz — earning Canova a high-profile endorsement from then-Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and with it, an incredible $3.8 million in cash donations, mostly from small donors outside of Florida.
Not only did Canova claim the mantle of Sanders “progressive grassroots” campaign early last spring, Sanders — who, along with his supporters, blamed Wasserman Schultz for his defeat by Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries — gave Canova his seal of approval in a nationally televised interview last May.
“Clearly I favor her opponent, his views are much closer to mine than to Wasserman Schultz’s,” Sanders said at the time. In fact, Sanders’ endorsement of Canova is still posted on his BernieSanders.com website, at this link.
But now that Canova, who was easily defeated by Wasserman Schultz, has announced that he will again seek to unseat the six-term congressional rep from southern Florida — Sanders claims to “know nothing” about him.
“I have no idea about Tim Canova, I honestly don’t,” Sanders said Tuesday, according to a report in theThe Miami Herald. “I know nothing about Tim Canova.”
Though he ran a heated and highly publicized campaign, attacking Wasserman Schultz as a tool of large corporate donors, and accusing her of “shameful misconduct” as chair of the DNC, when the votes were counted Canova was not competitive in the race, earning only 43.2 percent of the 23rd District vote, while Wasserman Schulz walked away with 56.8 percent.
The 50-year-old Wasserman Schultz was forced to step down as DNC chair on the eve of the party’s national convention last July after Wikileaks published a trove of emails hacked from DNC computers — a hack that had already been reported to have been carried out by Russian intelligence agents, a report that was later confirmed by United States intelligence agencies.
The hacked emails revealed that Wasserman Schultz had very little positive to say about Sanders in private, saying that the independent Vermont senator who registered as a Democrat to run against Clinton had “never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do.” Wasserman Schultz also referred to Sanders campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, as a “damn liar” and an “ass.”
But since announcing that he would challenge Wasserman Schultz a second time, Canova has made headlines for his own statements, including his apparent endorsement of a conspiracy theory that DNC staffer Seth Rich — who was shot to death in a Washington D.C. park in June of last year — was the true source of the hacked DNC emails, and was killed as a result.
“I wondered what the DNC under Wasserman Schultz was capable of but I don’t know,” Canova said in an interview last week, after posting a message on Facebook about the conspiracy theory. Police say that no evidence supports the conspiracy theory.
Canova also said, in a message posted on his Twitter account, that an electrical surge “fried” the surge protector on his personal computer, which he characterized as an “attack.” His Twitter posting appeared to imply that the “surge” was somehow connected to his announcement that he would again challenge Wasserman Schultz, adding, “same happened last campaign.”
After learning this week that Sanders would not endorse his candidacy a second time, Canova, however, took the high road saying a prepared statement, “I was thrilled when he endorsed me last year. His endorsement gave us an important lift and I’m forever grateful for his support at such a critical time.”
[Featured Image by Paul Sancya/AP Images]