Just two days after an email scandal forced her resignation as head of the Democratic Party, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz could be on her own in a suddenly tough re-election battle, as fellow House Democrats turn their back — and withhold their money — while contributions pour in for her primary opponent.
Soon after Wasserman Schultz was booed Monday during a Florida delegation breakfast in Philadelphia, Democratic primary foe Tim Canova wrote to his 20,000 Twitter followers, "It's time to end her political career for good," and shared a link to his campaign fundraising webpage.
The tactic appears to be working. He said he's raised about $100,000 in the 72 hours since the scandal erupted, all without leaving south Florida or picking up a phone to dial for dollars.
Yet officials with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made clear Monday they have no plans to spend money to save her. Top committee leaders told reporters that they do not spend money on safe Democratic seats, which hers is, because they need to save resources for states they are trying to save or flip.
While the seat may be safe in the fall from Republicans, that doesn’t mean she’s a lock in the primary.
It’s just the latest example of how Bernie Sanders, who has endorsed Canova, has been able to twist the political knife even further – after leaked emails that indicated an anti-Sanders bias in the chairwoman’s DNC operation led to her ouster.
"In some ways it feels like we've won the lottery," Canova said. "There's been a natural donor base for someone willing to take on a person with a national profile who is seen as a failed leader."
Sanders, who has already sent fundraising pleas on Canova's behalf, said he also may campaign for him. At a round-table interview Tuesday with Bloomberg Politics, he said he'd be doing so not because of "some kind of personal vendetta against Debbie," but because Canova is a "good candidate."
Privately, some Democratic officials think Wasserman Schultz is at risk of losing her Aug. 30 primary to Canova.
The Washington Post reported that the congresswoman was now planning to return to Florida, from the Philadelphia convention, amid concerns over her reelection bid.
That she even has to think about her House race is a turnaround for the congresswoman who was considered among the most powerful Democrats in Washington, in large part for her post at the DNC and unwavering support for President Obama, who appointed her.
However, accusations by Sanders and fellow Democratic primary challenger Martin O’Malley that she and others in the DNC were partial to front-runner Clinton were bolstered by the email leak.
The backlash among Democrats and others was almost immediate, with protesters around the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia condemning her actions, including Code Pink demonstrators wearing signs that reading “Resign Debbie.”
The respected, non-partisan Cook Political Report still shows Wasserman Schultz as a “solid” pick to win reelection. But her Democratic primary and potential GOP challengers are making political hay of the roughly 20,000 hacked emails released by WikiLeaks, including one in which she suggested Sanders’ vow to take away her DNC post was “silly.”
Nathan Gonzales, who analyzes House races for the non-partisan Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report, said Tuesday that Wasserman Schultz’s recent travails “raise the natural question” about whether she could lose her primary- or general-election race. However, he downplayed the idea of a drastic or immediate turnabout.
“In such a high-profile situation, it’s easy to image an (upset.) But it’s extremely difficult to beat an incumbent in a primary,” he said. “She has her share of problems, but I don’t know if that’s going to hit her in her district.”
Gonzales said there’s no plans to downgrade the seat from “safe,” saying, “I’d have to see more information … new polling.”
“The emails just point out what so many of us believed, that the process was rigged for Hillary Clinton,” said Joe Kaufman, one of two Republican primary candidates in Wasserman Schultz’s 23rd Congressional District, west of Fort Lauderdale, in southern Florida.
“It looks a little like Debbie is getting a payback for her helping get Hillary Clinton elected. … My campaign believes that people who wanted to vote for her just shouldn’t vote at all because a vote for her is a vote for the rigged process.”
Democratic strategist Douglas Smith suggested Monday that party leaders are correctly trying to keep the email story from continuing for days and months, which would further damage Wasserman Schultz.
However, Smith thinks Wasserman Schultz’s political capital will help her prevail.
“I think she’ll win,” he said. “She’s got the heavy support of voters, families."
In her written statement announcing her DNC resignation, the congresswoman said, "My first priority has always been serving the people of the 23rd district of Florida and I look forward to continuing to do that as their member of Congress for years to come."
FoxNews.com’s Joseph Weber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.