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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stands next to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she stops in to greet workers at a campaign office for Wasserman Schultz in Davie on Tuesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik /AP)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stands next to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she stops in to greet workers at a campaign office for Wasserman Schultz in Davie on Tuesday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik /AP)

Heated Presidential Primary Lives on as Clinton Stumps for Wasserman Schultz

Presidential nominee appeared beside the embattled congresswoman the same day that Bernie Sanders urged supporters to donate to her progressive opponent

Lauren McCauley

"The Democratic presidential primary lives on in Florida's 23rd congressional district," the Miami Herald reported Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton paused her campaigning to endorse former party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is in the midst of a close primary fight with the Bernie Sanders-backed Tim Canova.

Clinton appeared beside the embattled incumbent at her strip-mall campaign headquarters in Davie, Florida, telling supporters: "I have to have her in Congress, by my side, working day after day...And I am committed to doing whatever I can to support her as she returns to the Congress with your support."

"I really respect Debbie's fighting spirit," Clinton added.

Indeed, Wasserman Schultz has quite a bit to contend with these days. Not only is her progressive challenger (her first primary opponent in 24 years) gaining traction, the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair was forced to resign from her post last month after leaked emails showed the party improperly favoring Clinton over Sanders during the presidential primary.

The emails validated accusations Sanders and his supporters made throughout his campaign. Following her resignation from the DNC, Clinton announced that Wasserman Schultz would now serve as her presidential campaign's honorary chair.

Those very same emails also prompted Canova's campaign to file an official FEC complaint (pdf) against Wasserman Schultz on Monday, accusing her of using DNC resources to strategize against his congressional campaign.

As the Sun Sentinel put it on Tuesday, "The Canova vs. Wasserman Schultz primary is a microcosm of the Sanders vs. Clinton presidential primaries."

Sanders has also indicated he may travel to South Florida to stump for Canova and on Tuesday sent another email to supporters urging them to donate to his campaign, stating:

Much like in our campaign for president, Tim started off as a major underdog in this race, battling a well-known and well-established person who was the chairwoman of the Democratic Party.

He is running a tough campaign on the kind of progressive platform we need to see in this country: opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, backing free tuition at public colleges and universities, reforming a corrupt campaign finance system and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Tim is on the side of working people and that's why we need to help him win.

Speaking to the congresswoman's campaign staff, Clinton "also touted Wasserman Schultz's budget-committee role in Congress—a senior position Canova wouldn’t immediately be able to fill—and the fact that Wasserman Schultz is the mother of school-age children. Canova is unmarried and doesn't have kids," the Miami Herald reported.

"I'm here today with a very simple message," Clinton told the assembled group. "I can't think of anyone who [more] deserves your support for re-election, starting with the primary on August 30th, than my friend Debbie...Please do everything you can to make sure Debbie has a resounding victory on August 30th."

To which Wasserman Schultz responded to Clinton, "We are going to make sure that Broward and Miami-Dade counties carry you."

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