PLANTATION, Fla.—A Senate run isn't happening. But Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's state is still proving a useful base as she aims to be a valuable surrogate, rather than one of the main events on the Democratic ticket, in Florida next year.
Not only will Florida continue to be an important swing state in 2016, the congresswoman and Democratic National Committee chair—who told CNN Tuesday that she won't run for Senate in 2016—has a long history with two potential GOP presidential nominees from the state. Wasserman Schultz says she's in a unique position to attack Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, with whom she served in state government, as they prepare runs for the White House.
"I have a better than normal amount of experience with at least two of the candidates who are discussing, thinking about running for president," Wasserman Schultz said in an interview in her district earlier this week. "I ... look forward to being able to make sure that voters understand exactly what Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush stand for, because they have been and will continue to try to portray themselves as far different than the unfortunate choices they've made that have harmed their constituents."
Wasserman Schultz was a state legislator in Tallahassee from 1992 through 2004, overlapping with both Bush (who was governor from 1999 to 2007) and Rubio, who was first elected to the state House just as Wasserman Schultz moved to the state Senate in 2000. Most recently, of course, she and Rubio have served together in Congress, where Wasserman Schultz has gained influence but also enemies while rising up the Democratic ranks.