She’s typically seen around the country pushing federal candidates, but Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was in Pittsburgh last week to speak about local politics.
As Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Wasserman Schultz stressed the importance of the Nov. 3 state and municipal election at a news conference last Thursday at which she endorsed Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidates David Wecht, Christine Donohue and Kevin Dougherty, and Heather Arnet, who is running for the state Senate from District 37.
“Judges matter, and judicial elections matter,” said the Florida congresswoman, noting that the Supreme Court may be ruling on critical congressional redistricting proposals that could affect the political balance of power in the legislature as well as issues of voting rights.
Wasserman Schultz praised the strong Democratic values of the judicial candidates as well as those of Arnet and her work with the Women and Girls Foundation on issues important to families. The organizational skills of Arnet, a working mother of a young son, could be used well in the legislature, she said.
“I’m definitely biased,” Wasserman Shultz admitted, “but we would get a lot more done with more moms in office.”
As a consequence of the 2014 election in which the Republicans seized control of the Senate and thus full control of Congress, “Democrats need to win elections across the ballot,” Wasserman Schultz said.
It would be a significant win for the Democrats if all three of the party’s candidates were to be elected to Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, she said during a short question-and-answer session following her address.
“The momentum that would be created by victories in these races would be unmistakable,” she said, adding that the upcoming election in Pennsylvania would be a “test run” for Democrats for the 2016 presidential race. Other test runs, she said, are in upcoming elections in Louisiana and Mississippi.
“These races give us an opportunity to kick the tires on our organizing and mobilizing skills and on the issues themselves,” she said.
In response to a question about the likelihood of Vice President Joe Biden entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Wasserman Shultz said, “There’s always room if he decides to run.”
The congresswoman said she was “thrilled” with the recent CNN debate among the Democratic presidential candidates, adding that the party “got more accomplished by showcasing the vision of our candidates in two hours on stage … than 10 hours of the Republicans trying to out-right-wing each other.”
Following the formal news conference, Wasserman Shultz said she had no second thoughts about supporting the recently concluded nuclear deal with Iran, despite the Tehran regime’s recent ballistic missile test. On Oct. 16, U.S. officials confirmed that the launching of those missiles was a violation of the U.N. ban on such tests.
“I still believe that the deal is the best way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear power,” she said, adding that Iran’s act of launching medium-range ballistic missiles was separate from the intent of the United States to hold Iran accountable to the terms of the accord.
“This doesn’t mean it would affect the implementation of Iran holding to the letter of the deal,” said Wasserman Schultz, “which we would expect them to do, and we will hold them accountable.”
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.