Florida’s 23rd CD Primary: Professor Tim Canova Or Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the scandalous DNC email leak showed that she favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the Democratic nominating competition, while she was obligated by her position to remain neutral. Now, Wasserman Schultz faces the possibility of losing her U.S. Representative seat in Congress to a law professor. On August 30, Florida’s 23rd Congressional District voters head to the polls, and Democrats will have a decision to make: keep the status quo with Debbie or make the progressive leap with Professor Tim Canova.

The two are on opposite sides of the Democratic spectrum. While Wasserman Schultz was criticized by The Intercept for opposing marijuana legalization (the beer, wine, and liquor industry is cited as one of the largest sources of her campaign funding), Canova seeks to legalize marijuana and takes no funding from corporate interests at all.

“Calling marijuana a ‘gateway, drug,’ [Wasserman Schultz] refuses to allow her constituents in South Florida, in consultation with their doctors, to decide for themselves whether to utilize this plant-based medicine to alleviate pain and other symptoms of various illnesses and the side effects of other medications,” Canova says on his website.

Strangely though, Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan says that Wasserman Schultz offered to change her stance on legalizing cannabis, if he would retract the statements that he made about her that were less-than-favorable, according to Politico. Morgan declined the deal. Wasserman Schultz had already trashed the cannabis initiative just months before.

Health care is another issue where the two candidates for U.S. Representative in the heated Florida primary race differ. Wasserman Schultz says on her Congressional page that she strongly supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, while Canova says he will fight for expanding universal health coverage to all Americans, including the working middle class. Canova says that this would make it so that people would never have to choose between better health care coverage or a better job.

Like Bernie Sanders, who has endorsed Canova, the law professor hoping to fill the congressional seat currently occupied by Wasserman Schultz says that his campaign is fueled by small donations, not super PACs.

Wasserman Schultz’s competition, Tim Canova, says that he supports an end to fracking and that, given the risk of Southern Florida one day being underwater, environmental issues should be of grave concern to voters in his congressional district.

“Fracking is a terrible idea and I am just appalled that Wasserman Schultz wants to allow this controversial drilling practice here in Florida,” Canova wrote in an August 22 fundraising email. Recently though, Wasserman Schultz seems to have flip flopped on the fracking issue. Though she once supported fracking provided it was performed within strict regulations, she now says she opposes fracking.

“As a federal legislator, I support regulations that are severe enough to push the fracking industry out of existence,” she asserted. “However, federal law currently prohibits regulation of fracking on private land, therefore I support a ban on fracking at the state level.”

According to Politico, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has also flip flopped on payday lending.

“The difference between Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s relationship with payday lenders and the average borrower’s relationship with payday lenders could not be more stark,” Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, a nonprofit research organization that targets special interests, said. “Rep. Wasserman Schultz is benefiting greatly while borrowers are left holding the bag. It’s time for her to quit trying to sabotage President Obama’s hard work to hold payday lenders accountable and instead join him in standing up for hardworking Florida families.”

In contrast, Canova has promised to regulate the payday lending industry.

If you were voting on Southern Florida’s 23rd Congressional District’s Democratic ballot, which candidate would you choose?

[Images via @DWStweets and @Tim_Canova | Twitter]

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