By now, you’ve probably heard about cannabis-gate. DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz allegedly put a deal forward where she would switch positions on medicinal marijuana if a Democratic donor withdrew criticism of her for not backing a related statewide initiative last year; it was defeated by a narrow margin. John Morgan, the donor who slammed Schultz for not backing the measure, contributed heavily to the pro-medical marijuana campaign. Of course, Schultz has denied the consideration of any deal regarding this debacle.
Yet, there’s more; Democrats don’t want Debbie to run either. She’s turned off many within Democratic circles, with some viewing her management style as “self-centered,” according to Politico. Additionally, the publication reported that Schultz had allegedly prepared an “anti-woman” and “anti-Semitic” line of attack against President Obama when she felt he might try and replace her as DNC chair, a position that could come off as too partisan for independent voters in the Sunshine State if she ever mounted a Senate run [emphasis mine]:
Even if Sen. Marco Rubio doesn’t leave his seat open for a White House run, Florida often tilts Democratic in presidential years, and Clinton would most likely be at the top of the ticket drawing out women and African-Americans in heavy numbers. A high-profile congresswoman with a strong base and proven fundraising record, Republicans and Democrats agree, has all the makings of a very competitive Senate candidate.
There’s just one problem: Many Democrats don’t want her to run for Senate either.
“I don’t think the Senate is a default position,” said Democratic consultant James Carville. “It’s not like, maybe you can be designated hitter.”
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is far from enthusiastic, according to sources close to the committee. Asked about Wasserman Schultz specifically, DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky said only: “It seems like there’s no one in the United States Senate who wants to be a senator less than Marco Rubio, and there are numerous potential candidates who could beat him.”
Wasserman Schultz, meanwhile, appears to have more liabilities, including what some of her milder critics refer to as “her capacity to misspeak” — like her accusing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker last fall of a record on women’s rights that was like “grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back.”
No one is waiting for Wasserman Schultz to make up her mind — nor does anyone think she’ll clear the field if she did jump in.
“It’s not like other Democrats will say, ‘Oh she’s running, I better not run,’” Carville said.
Throughout her time as chair, Wasserman Schultz has turned off colleagues, other top Democrats and current and former staff for a management style that strikes many as self-centered — even for a politician — and often at the expense of the DNC or individual candidates or campaigns. Many top Democrats, including some she counts as supporters and friends, privately complain about her trying to use the DNC as a vehicle for her own personal promotion, and letting her own ambition get in the way of larger goals.
Wasserman Schultz has a different sense of herself. According to people who spoke with her, when she sensed Obama was considering replacing her as chair in 2013, she began to line up supporters to suggest the move was both anti-woman and anti-Semitic. Under fire last fall for her leadership, she took Obama’s decision not to remove her then as evidence of renewed strength and said she was confident no one could get her out of the DNC before her term is over at the beginning of 2017, according to sources who’ve spoken with her. She’s also been known to joke around the office about how having a vacation home in New Hampshire might one day be helpful in a presidential run.
Wasserman Schultz would be a strong Senate candidate in South Florida, and be able to pull Jewish and female voters elsewhere in the state, the logic goes, all likely helped by Clinton. But — especially if Rubio or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is on the ticket — she’d be much weaker in Tampa and the northern part of the state. Then there’s the chance that her DNC chairmanship could work against her, making her look hyperpartisan in the minds of independent voters.
This could be an entertaining Democratic primary. There are several names being tossed around, one of them being Rep. Alan Grayson.