Auburn85 364 Posted February 22, 2015 Share Posted February 22, 2015 http://www.politico....ltz-115373.html Running for Senate might be an elegant solution for a politician with no other way to advance her career. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose term has two years to run, is deeply at odds with White House staffers, they say, and has rarely even spoken to President Barack Obama since she took over in 2011. Story Continued Below Hillary Clinton is warmer to her. But sources familiar with the Clinton camp’s thinking say Wasserman Schultz’s tendency to pursue an independent agenda is reason to worry about her staying as DNC chair through the 2016 campaign or making her a campaign co-chair as a way to ease her out of the job. Running for the House leadership, her original goal, is closed off too — neither Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi nor Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer appears to be leaving soon, and even if they did, congressional insiders say the best she could probably hope is to be deputy leader, or something else barely above a return to the rank and file. That would be a serious disappointment after years as a national party leader. But things look a lot different in Florida. 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.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, seems exuberant at the chance to run against someone who’s run into so much baggage on the national level. “It’s rare in Washington for President Obama and Senate Republicans to agree, but we are all in agreement that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a terrible DNC chair and would make an even worse Senate candidate,” said NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. In Florida and Washington, the Democratic focus is on Rep. Patrick Murphy, a young congressman from a swing district with a strong fundraising base of his own and the capacity to do some self-financing. 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.” This week, she got into a spat with proponents of medical marijuana, including prominent Florida donor John Morgan, who released emails that appeared to show her staff offering that the congresswoman would change her position if he would retract his criticisms. For a party that’s trying to win back the Senate and hold onto the White House, the danger posed by such controversies is very real. While Murphy has been talking with Democratic donors all over the state and has already sat down with Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chairman Jon Tester of Montana, Wasserman Schultz has not yet discussed the possibility of a Senate run with the DSCC. 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. Wasserman Schultz spokesman Sean Bartlett declined to comment on how seriously the congresswoman is considering a run, or whether she’d be ready to step aside as chair of the DNC if she does. He also declined comment on what, if any, moves Wasserman Schultz has taken toward a run other than chatting about it with select supporters, or whether she thinks Murphy should hold off on entering the race until she makes up her mind. All he’d provide is a stock statement she’s been giving to anyone who’s asked about her Senate prospects: “My only focus right now is serving the people of Florida’s 23rd District in Congress and electing the 45th President of the United States.” Friday morning, Wasserman Schultz put out invitations to three fundraisers for her DWS PAC — which she insisted last fall to POLITICO “is a separate entity,” not about her, with initials that only stand for “Democrats Win Seats.” Asking for up to $5,000 per ticket, she’ll headline a lunch Feb. 26 at Fiola in Washington, a dinner March 18 at Rasika in Washington and then lead a three-day trip to New Orleans April 10-12. The dinner is being hosted by the Alabama-based bank Regions Financial Corporation PAC. 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. Even among Wasserman Schultz’s detractors, there’s an appreciation for the logic of a Senate run. “What she’s suited for. Appeals to voters. She was never going to be the pick of her colleagues for leadership,” said one Democratic critic of her DNC leadership. “She has just enough charm to appeal to a cross-section of voters who can get to know her in flashes. And she does work hard. Really hard. Hillary … is fortuitous timing for her.” 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. According to people who spoke with her at the DNC winter meeting, Wasserman Schultz was seeking to reassure people that though she hasn’t ruled a Senate run in or out, she’s still completely committed to being chair. That’s the line she used as she introduced Obama on Friday. “I look forward to continuing to serve as a member of Congress under his leadership and continuing our effort as a national party to lead the way so we elect his successor,” Wasserman Schultz said. Obama took the stage, greeted her with a kiss on the cheek and then moved on to the next DNC officer on the dais. He thanked her in passing at the top of his remarks, and didn’t mention her again. ? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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