Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz saw her ambition to hold statewide office thwarted this week.
Along with Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, Wasserman Schultz has not been shy about her interest in challenging Sen. Marco Rubio in the 2016 race for U.S. Senate (unless Rubio relinquishes his office in order to run for the White House).
But these progressive stalwarts knew they faced a challenge from the relatively centrist Florida Democrat Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) who is expected to launch a campaign later this month. Though these liberal Democrats might have enjoyed the support of their party’s activist wing, they did not have the backing of the Senate’s Democratic leadership.
“Two top Democrats in Washington and Florida said he’s doing so with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s blessing and in coordination with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee,” Politico reported last week.
Unlike in Maryland, the Senate’s Democratic minority leader managed to have his way. On Tuesday, Wasserman Schultz revealed that she would decline to run for Senate in 2016 and will instead seek reelection to the House.
“I have gotten tremendous support from my constituents in my own district, from people across Florida, from donors urging me to run for the Senate,” she told CNN.
But, she said, she would instead seek re-election and continue in her dual post at the helm of the national party.
“I will be running for re-election to the United States House of Representatives and serving my full four-year term that President Obama has asked me to serve as chair of the DNC,” Wasserman Schultz said.
This could be construed as yet another insult directed toward the head of the DNC from her party’s elected leaders, but the fact that Murphy could easily be considered a Democrat in Name Only makes this stinging rebuke hurt that much more.
Rep. Patrick Murphy contributed the maximum $2,300 to Romney in 2008, but he defeated the odious Allen West in 2012. #conflicted
— Taniel (@Taniel) March 17, 2015
It’s a striking commentary on the Democratic Party’s discipline that the head of the party in the Senate can back two moderates – one of which is a Romney donor, no less – over progressive candidates and he does not spark talk of a grassroots insurgency. Or even a leadership challenge!
Of course, there could still be some fun to come in the race for Senate in Florida.
“@WaPoSean: Alan Grayson says DWS decision not to run for Senate makes him a likelier bet to run.”
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) March 17, 2015