Bernie Sanders ally trying a second time to unseat Debbie Wasserman Schultz
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Bernie Sanders ally trying a second time to unseat Debbie Wasserman Schultz

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida speaking to a reporter before the Democratic Party presidential debate in Manchester, N.H., Dec. 19, 2015. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

(JTA) — A law professor and Bernie Sanders backer will try again to unseat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s safely Democratic 23rd Congressional District.

Tim Canova announced Thursday that he will launch a primary challenge to Wasserman Schultz, the former head of the Democratic National Committee. Last August, Wasserman Schultz defeated Canova, 57-43 percent, in the primary despite the heat she faced after stepping down weeks earlier from the DNC over allegations that it unfairly favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Canova pressed the issue during his campaign, saying he, like Sanders, represented the progressive grassroots, while Wasserman Schultz, a Jewish pro-Israel stalwart, represented the corrupt establishment. Sanders, a Vermont Independent, urged followers to contribute to Canova’s campaign, which raised more than $3 million.

Critics of Canova have noted his apparent support for a conspiracy theory, popular in conservative circles, suggesting that a young Jewish DNC staffer, Seth Rich, might have been murdered last year because he leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Rich, 27, a Nebraska native, was shot dead while walking to his home in Washington, D.C.. before dawn on July 10, 2016.

Police have speculated that he was the victim of a robbery gone awry and Rich’s family has begged proponents of the WikiLeaks theory to desist.

In January, Canova posted on Facebook that Rich “may have been the WikiLeaks source of the leaked DNC emails. He was gunned down, assassinated under suspicious circumstances just days after publication of those leaked emails.” In March, Canova called for a “nonpartisan investigation” of Rich’s murder.

Asked Thursday if he still suspects DNC involvement in Rich’s death, Canova told the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel, “I have no idea. I wondered what the DNC under Wasserman Schultz was capable of, but I don’t know.”

He added: “What I said on Facebook was that folks had suggested it and we should find out what happened. It’s that simple.”