Two South Florida Democratic members of Congress in safe left-leaning districts, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson, face challenges by long-shot candidates.
Joe Kaufman, a pro-Israel activist from Tamarac, is challenging Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair from Weston in District 23.
Wasserman Schultz has raised $1.8million, while Kaufman has raised about $600,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Kaufman is best known for being parodied on The Daily Show in 2012 related to his group Americans Against Hate. He has focused much of his campaign on rooting out terrorism and criticizing the White House’s foreign policy.
“Most importantly is Israel, and the peace talks sought there by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, these talks are simply a PR ploy at the expense of Israel’s security,” Kaufman says on his website.
Wasserman Schultz, in Congress since 2005, is a national steward of President Barack Obama’s policies including defending the Affordable Care Act. Although she drew much attention for a recent Politico article that portrayed her as falling out of favor with Obama, in her south Broward to Miami Beach district she remains popular with loyal Democratic voters for her stances in favor of gay marriage, women’s rights and for bashing Republican Party leaders.
In response to a question about the top issue facing her district in the next two years, Wasserman Schultz said she had a lengthy list. She talked about infrastructure projects “to create more jobs,” mitigating the impact of sea-level rise and climate change, expanding I-95 in Broward, dredging Port Everglades and protecting the Everglades.
Wilson was first elected to her Miami-Dade district in 2010 and represents District 24, which stretches from Pembroke Pines to Brickell. She has long been a champion for minority students in her district, supported reunification of Haitian immigrant families and vowed to increase attention in Congress on the school girls in Nigeria who were kidnapped.
More than half of the district’s residents are black and more than one quarter are Hispanic.
“When I return to Congress, after the district work break, my No.1 mission is to ensure that Congress addresses the No.1 issue on the mind of all Americans — jobs. Congress must listen to the clear majority of Americans and pass comprehensive legislation to create jobs and boost wages,” she told the Herald.
Wilson faces two little-known candidates: Dufirstson Julio Neree, a Republican, and Luis E. Fernandez, no party affiliation. Wilson has raised $313,270, while her two opponents combined raised $25,500, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Broward has no competitive Congressional contests this year. U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, is expected to easily beat Republican Jay Alan Bonner. Two Democratic members based in Palm Beach County who represent a portion of Broward — Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach — also face easy races against candidates who have barely raised any money.