Is Wasserman Schultz’s challenger in Florida fighting a DNC proxy war?

Tim Canova, the progressive Florida law professor challenging Democratic Representative and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida, told Jorge Ramos, “I think it’s time to have some outsiders in congress and not just the same old political insiders.”

Canova—whose campaign website invites people to “join the revolution”—has never run for political office, but proudly said that if elected representative of Florida’s 23rd congressional district in the state’s primary this August, he “will not owe a single favor to any corporate special interests.”

Canova’s campaign marks the first time in a decade that the congresswoman’s seat is challenged. He told Ramos that it was partly motivated by working with Wasserman Schultz’s office on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement Canova lobbied against with a grassroots organization and that the congresswoman voted to fast-track.

“It got me looking looking at her record more,” Canova told Ramos in an interview on Thursday. “What we found is that she had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from big corporations that supported the TPP. And I looked further and it was a pattern.”

Canova’s campaign began receiving national attention over the weekend after an endorsement from Bernie Sanders, who has been embroiled in an increasingly heated feud with Wasserman Schultz regarding his presidential bid. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sanders said, “If elected President, she would not be reappointed to be chair of the DNC,” and that he is supporting Canova because, “His views are much closer to mine.”

Ramos asked Canova if he thought Sanders’ endorsement—which led to $250,000 worth of donations to Canova’s campaign in 24 hours—was more than just a sign of support.

“Do you think that he’s using you somehow? In other words, to criticize both the Party and Hillary Clinton?” Ramos asked.

Canova dismissed the idea but said that he agrees with the democratic candidate’s complaints about the way Wasserman Schultz has been running the DNC.

Although there are no polls to show which of the two candidates is fairing better in Florida, Ramos wondered if Hillary Clinton’s success in the district (she won 68% percent of the vote) could mean another victory for Wasserman Schultz in August’s primary election. But Canova doesn’t think there is necessarily a relationship.

“On a number of very key issues, I’m closer to Hillary Clinton than Debbie Wasserman Schultz is,” Canova said, and cited pay-day lending as a key example.

“If the Democrats manage to unify out of their convention, I think it’s gonna be in spite of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not because of her,” Canova said.

Watch the full interview here.

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