MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Debbie Wasserman Schultz was viewed as a shoe-in for re-election to her South Florida congressional seat, but what is coming to be known as “emailgate” could prove problematic.
Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign her position as chair of the Democratic National Committee, after thousands of emails were made public showing DNC officials discussed efforts to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary process.
The DNC released a statement apologizing to Sanders about the leaked emails.
At a breakfast meeting of the Florida delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wasserman Schultz was booed by many members of the Florida delegation. They held signs reading “division” and “emails.” One man shouted at Wasserman Schultz, “you’re a cheater!”
After viewing video of the loud dust up at the Philadelphia event, Wasserman Schultz’s challenger in the congressional primary, Nova Southeastern University law professor Tim Canova, said the incident was telling.
“It tells me that she’s made herself highly unpopular,” Canova said. “She has shown very poor leadership of the Democratic National Committee, and it raises questions of her character.”
Clinton was quick to embrace Wasserman Schultz amid the growing email scandal, saying in a statement, “I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid.”
Canova thinks Clinton may be hurting her presidential campaign in Florida by standing with Wasserman Schultz.
“If Hillary is going to win Florida, she needs to win the most votes in Broward county,” Canova said. “It doesn’t help to attach herself to somebody who has become increasingly unpopular and out of touch.”
Among Democrats in a district that spans parts of Broward and Miami-Dade, some voters have been swayed by the growing email scandal that has engulfed Wasserman Schultz. The emails, thousands of them, were posted by the website WikiLeaks.
“When I read about WikiLeaks, I wasn’t happy to be registered as a Democrat,” said Samantha Millard in Hollywood. “If Florida wasn’t a closed state, I’d probably be independent. But it (the email revelations) does make me lean toward candidates that are more progressive.”
Canova said in the 72 hours since the scandal broke, his campaign received nearly $100,000 in contributions. Canova has raised some $2 million, largely in contributions of less than $20 each.
Denise Brown, another registered Democrat, said she has soured on Wasserman Schultz.
“We want someone honest in office, correct? So I wouldn’t vote for her,” Brown said.
Another Democrat was more forgiving.
“She was classy enough to recognize that ’emailgate’ happened, and she stepped down after the convention is over,” said Democratic voter Bill McGrath. “I think she’s acting with class.”
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